Prosecutors were given the go-ahead Monday for grand jury proceedings in the case of a fatal stabbing that was committed with a carpet sweeper handle.
City Judge Shirley Troutman ruled prosecutors had established reasonble cause to believe that Antonio Harris, 19, and Anthony Franklin, 16, both of Riley Street, took part in the slaying of Michael Organek, 47, of 307 North St.
Harris' cousins, Robert Hennegan, 18, of Donovan Drive and Latwett Harris, 20, of Esser Avenue, both waived felony hearings and were held for grand jury action.
The four, all arrested Aug. 18, were ordered held without bail pending grand jury proceedings on second-degree murder charges. Deputy District Attorney Christopher J. Belling said a grand jury will get the case sometime in the next 45 days.
Organek was fatally stabbed through the left eye in his third-floor flat the night of Aug. 7. Law enforcement sources said he was attacked because Ms. Harris claimed he had failed to pay her $100 he owed for a "rock" of crack cocaine she sold him on credit earlier that day.
Franklin is accused of sticking the 27-inch metal handle of Organek's carpet sweeper into the victim's left eye when he, Antonio Harris and Hennegan confronted Organek. Ms. Harris reportedly was not present for the attack.
If indicted and convicted of second-degree murder, all four face mandatory prison terms of 15 to 25 years to life.
During a court hearing Monday, Central District Police Officer Stephen Gallentine testified that Organek was on his bed, trying to pull out the metal pole, when officers arrived. The pole, which punctured Organek's brain, was surgically removed in the Emergency Room of Buffalo General Hospital, where he died four days later.
Detective Sgt. Robert Chella and Detective Mark R. Stambach of the Homicide Bureau denied suggestions from defense attorneys John J. Carney III and Paul Shatkin that detectives coerced signed statements from Antonio Harris and Franklin during Aug. 18 interrogations at Police Headquarters.
Stambach said that Antonio Harris claimed that Franklin threw the metal pole into Organek's eye.
Chella told the judge that Franklin initially claimed he just "went along" with Hennegan and Antonio Harris to Organek's flat.