A Rochester woman was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Tuesday for her role in a burglary that led to the death of a Medina comic book collector.
Arlene Combs, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on her conviction for racketeering in plotting a burglary at the home of 78-year-old Homer Marciniak.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott S. Allen Jr., who prosecuted the case, Combs and a co-defendant, Rico Vendetti, hired three men in 2010 to steal Marciniak’s valuable comic book collection in exchange for $1,000 each.
The three men – Donald Griffin, Albert Parsons and Juan Javier – traveled from Rochester to Medina and cut Marciniak’s phone line. During the early morning hours of July 5, 2010, the men forcibly entered Marciniak’s home, Allen said. At some point during the burglary, Marciniak, who had a serious heart condition, woke up and confronted the burglars.
Griffin hit Marciniak in the face, and, along with Javier, bound his hands with bed linens. The men also threatened Marciniak with a BB gun and fled after finding his comic book collection.
Marciniak was able to free himself and was treated for facial injuries at Medina Memorial Hospital and released. Shortly after being released, however, he suffered a heart attack and was readmitted to the hospital, where he died, Allen said.
Medical experts determined that the physical and emotional trauma that Marciniak had experienced during the burglary contributed directly to his death.
Later that day, the comic books were delivered to Combs, who took them to Vendetti with another co-defendant, Terry Stewart. Upon hearing that the burglary resulted in Marciniak’s death, Vendetti discarded the comic books, Allen said.
The defendants were arrested after an investigation by the Rochester Police Department in the fall of 2010.
Combs also attempted to persuade Javier to not speak with law enforcement officials about the incident in February and March 2011, Allen said.
Vendetti, Griffin and Parsons are awaiting sentencing on convictions stemming from the crime.
Javier, who was 17 at the time of the burglary, was sentenced to seven years in state prison. Stewart also was convicted of racketeering, and was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison.