Justin Thompson and Domenick Sutton were indicted Friday on first-degree murder and other charges for the execution-style shootings of four people last Saturday night.
Authorities are keeping a close watch on at least two possible young eyewitnesses to the Koons Avenue killings, court sources confirmed.
Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark would only say that "an indictment has been voted" in the case. But City Court officials and Andrew C. LoTempio, Sutton's court-appointed attorney, and Carl H. Dobozin, Thompson's attorney, confirmed the developments.
By the end of next week, Thompson, 24, of Goulding Avenue, and Sutton, 22, of Donovan Drive, are expected to be arraigned in Erie County Court on the murder indictment, which carries a mandatory life term. Both are being held without bail.
Friday morning, Deputy District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III was seen giving Buffalo City Judge Debra L. Givens the decision of the grand jury. LoTempio said he did not have Sutton testify before the grand jury, because Sutton insists he had nothing to do with the shootings.
"We want to see what proof they have because we don't believe there is any substantial proof," LoTempio said.
Dobozin said his client denies involvement in the killings. He said he did not have Thompson appear before the grand jury because he does not trust prosecutors to fairly carry out grand jury investigations.
Sutton and Thompson are both charged with fatally shooting Robert "Little Man" Brown, 40, and Brown's niece, Tonisha Brown, 26, both of 320 Koons where the late-night incident took place. They're also accused of fatally shooting Stacie Guest, 39, and Gregory Conwell, 42, who were visiting the Browns.
At least two possible eyewitnesses to the shootings reportedly are being closely watched by law enforcement authorities, because they were identified in early media reports on the case, high ranking officials confirmed Friday.
LoTempio declined to comment on reports that Sutton is a mid-level leader in the Bloods street gang.
Authorities are downplaying gang involvement in the killings, believing Robert Brown was the intended target due to a personal dispute, with the other victims killed because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.