Shane Stevenson, 31, was arraigned Friday in Cheektowaga Town Court on two counts of second-degree murder in the slaying of a woman and her 7-year-old son Thursday. No bail was set.
Stevenson pleaded not guilty. He did not say anything else in court.
Raina Voll, 30, and her 7-year-old son, Leo Klinger, were found dead at their home in the Kingswood Apartments in Cheektowaga Thursday evening. Police would not say how the two died.
Another child, a 2-year old, was found safe behind a nearby church, police said.
Police were originally called at 2:45 p.m. Thursday to 2628 Union Road about a report of an abandoned child in a stroller.
Through police work, police were able to find out where the 2-year-old lived, about four miles away, said Cheektowaga Assistant Police Chief James J. Speyer Jr.
Cheektowaga police went to Kingswood Apartments, a U-shaped complex of two-story dwellings at 1331 French Road, between Borden and Transit roads. That’s when they discovered the bodies.
“It was some sort of domestic situation,” Speyer said.
Stevenson was arrested at the apartment building where the crime occurred. Stevenson, who lives at the apartment building, had a relationship with Voll, Speyer said.
Speyer would not describe Stevenson’s demeanor when police found him or how he reacted to the police so as not to jeopardize with the investigation and prosecution.
“All the details of the scene, the evidence, any details of what actually physically happened, I will not be able to talk about,” Speyer said.
Police are not looking for any other suspects, Speyer said.
“This was obviously some sort of a domestic situation,” Speyer said.
The 2-year-old and 7-year-old children are brothers. Stevenson is not their father.
Police and child protection workers took the 2-year-old to his father.
Heather Serwon, a friend and co-worker of Voll’s, told The News she encouraged Voll to move into the Kingswood Apartments about a month ago. Voll and Serwon lived in adjoining complexes.
Serwon was still shaken Friday morning over the death of her friend. The two worked together as waitresses at the Olive Tree Family Restaurant in Lancaster.
Serwon said she knew something was wrong Thursday afternoon when Voll didn’t show up for her 4 p.m. work shift at the Olive Tree, because Voll always reported to work on time. Serwon told The News she called her friend’s cell phone at 4:10 p.m. Then a man called and identified himself as a member of the Cheektowaga Police Department. He said police had found Voll’s 2-year-old son, with his mother’s cell phone, in a parking lot.
“I was terrified,” Serwon said.
At about 8:30 p.m., police came to the restaurant to tell the staff that Voll and her older son had been killed, Serwon said.
“We were all a wreck,” Serwon said. “Everybody was crying.”
Serwon called Voll a dedicated mother who was always showing photos of her sons.
“She was a very sweet person. She was a person who went above and beyond to help anyone,” Serwon said. “She would do anything for her kids. They were just her absolute world.”
Serwon said she met Voll’s boyfriend just once.
“I met him, and he seemed to be fine, but you never know somebody,” she said.
Speyer said police officers working on the case have been affected.
“To see what another human being can do to another person, especially a 7-year-old, is traumatic,” Speyer said. “Most of our officers have kids of their own, and it’s just hard to believe, and they’re traumatized by it to some degree.”
Cheektowaga town police are working with the Erie County District Attorney’s office on the investigation.
Cheektowaga Town Judge Paul S. Piotrowski set a preliminary hearing for next week.
After his arraignment in Cheektowaga Town Court, Stevenson was transferred to the Erie County holding Center.