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Defendant pleads not guilty in fatal East Side shooting

Matthew Schunk pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of felony murder, but he also has given investigators a statement implicating himself in the May 20 death of Jonathan Grumble, according to prosecutors.

At Schunk’s arraignment in Erie County Court, his attorney, Paul Michalek, indicated the case may be resolved before it goes to trial.

Grumble’s body was found in a vacant lot near the corner of Quincy and Ashley streets on the East Side. He reportedly died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Assistant District Attorney John P. Feroleto said in court it's believed Schunk did not fire the shot that killed Grumble, but took part in events that led up to the homicide.

On the night he was killed, Grumble, 23, came into a house on Swinburne Street and threatened the occupants with a gun, according to Schunk’s statement. Schunk, 53, who also has a Town of Tonawanda address, allegedly said he was renting a room in the Swinburne house and that he helped another man overpower Grumble and restrain him.

In his alleged confession, prosecutors said, Schunk reportedly claims that after Grumble was confronted about what he was doing in the house, the other man forced the victim outside and shot him.

Schunk, who was arrested in July, is the only person charged in Grumble’s death to this point.

In asking that Schunk be held without bail, Feroleto told Judge Kenneth F. Case, “He has essentially confessed to all the elements of felony murder” and could face significant prison time — up to 25 years to life — if convicted.

Case remanded Schunk to jail and scheduled him to return to court Oct. 11.

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