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South Buffalo man pleads guilty in fatal beating, arson

A South Buffalo man on Wednesday admitted he fatally beat a friend of his father’s last spring in the victim’s home, then set fire to the residence in what police said was an attempt to cover up the slaying.

David Meyers, 19, of Spaulding Street, pleaded guilty as charged to second-degree murder and third-degree arson in the March 4 attack on Brian Domek, 52, who lived on Sirret Street, a block over from the defendant.

Meyers faces at least 15 years to life in prison and at most 25 years to life when he is sentenced Dec. 2 by State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns, according to Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. He is being held without bail.

Assistant District Attorney Gary W. Hackbush declined to comment on a motive for the fatal bludgeoning.

Police and fire marshals initially believed that the fire that evening was caused by careless smoking, but an autopsy revealed the victim had been beaten to death before the blaze started.

Police said the victim’s face was so severely beaten with a blunt object that his features were beyond recognition. The fire, which quickly spread throughout the 1½-story, wood-frame house, destroyed his fingerprints. The victim was identified through dental records.

Witnesses told police they saw a man running from the house just after the blaze was spotted.

Dombek’s dog died in the fire.

Meyers was arrested March 7 after he gave a second statement to police,

He was arraigned May 6 on the murder and arson indictment.