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WOMAN HELD IN MURDER CASE ADMITS ROBBERY COUNT

A woman who was captured in January in Tennessee pleaded guilty Thursday to a first-degree robbery charge as an accomplice in a Buffalo murder.

Joyvice Wynder, 30, entered the plea in connection with the Dec. 15, 2002, murder of Lawrence Thomas, of Orleans Street, on Ada Place.

Wynder told Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio that she went to the crime scene with Thomas' killer to buy drugs and there picked the pockets of the fatally shot man.

The judge told Wynder, who remains jailed, that she will cap her state prison term at eight years when she is sentenced Dec. 14.

At the request of Wynder's attorney, Paul Gordon Dell, prosecutors told the judge murder and weapons charges, which also had been lodged against her two years ago, will be dropped in return for her pretrial plea.

Prosecutors Joseph M. Mordino and Christopher Gresham said Wynder, who was also arrested during a massive 1997 roundup of alleged Buffalo drug traffickers, was captured near Knoxville and returned to Buffalo by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Also last January, Marsean Johnson, 23, received a 50-year-to-life sentence from State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang on his conviction in the killings of both Thomas, 21, and Rashawn McBride, 18, and the shooting of Dexter Moss, 18, during separate incidents two years ago.

Mordino and Gresham said McBride, of Lyth Avenue, was fatally shot, and Moss, of Woodlawn Avenue, was wounded as they sat in a car on Alexander Place at about 9 p.m. March 17, 2002.

Authorities contend Johnson shot Thomas at about 9 p.m. Dec. 15, 2002, because he was a potential witness in the McBride and Moss shootings. After Wynder's plea proceeding, defense attorney Dell said his client had only gone to the Ada Place home that night to buy drugs and happened to get there as Johnson was fighting with Thomas.

After Johnson shot Thomas, Dell said, Wynder "went through the dying man's pockets before she left with his killer" and then fled from the area.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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