An Erie County grand jury today recommended a Laurel Street man face a possible death penalty in the fatal beating of Buffalo landlord Gary Trzaska.
Dennis Straughter, 19, and William M. Nance, 17, of Miller Avenue, were both indicted on murder charges in the vicious attack Oct. 2 on Broadway. But the grand jury only lodged a first-degree murder charge against Straughter.
Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark said he will have 120 days after the defendants are arraigned next Friday to decide if he should seek the death penalty against Straughter.
He noted that the state's death-penalty law mandates that suspects must be at least 18 at the time of the crime but declined to comment further on the case.
Nance was indicted on second-degree murder.
Authorities still are looking for a possible third suspect. Straughter and Nance both have been jailed for more than two months. The grand jury also lodged robbery charges against both suspects.
Trzaska, 41, of Cheektowaga, was attacked late at night on Broadway near Titus Avenue after collecting rent from tenants at properties in that area. Although authorities initially thought Trzaska was a hate-crime victim because he is gay, they later concluded he was only killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.