LOCKPORT – A Niagara County Court jury will decide Friday whether Matthew A. Davis is responsible for the death of a Niagara Falls man who died after being beaten in a robbery at his apartment last year.
In closing arguments Thursday, the defense argued that the manner of Antoine M. Bradberry’s death is uncertain and that any injuries he suffered in the robbery didn’t cause it. The prosecution replied that the law says Bradberry’s pre-existing conditions are irrelevant if the jury finds that the intruder’s actions contributed to his death.
Bradberry, 41, suffered numerous injuries, including a broken jaw and nose, in the Aug. 22, 2011 attack in his residence at the Jefferson Apartments on Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls.
Davis, 37, of Pierce Avenue in the Falls, is charged with second-degree murder under the “felony murder” statute that covers causing a victim’s death while committing another felony, in this case first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery. He is not charged with intentional killing.
On Friday, , the jury of nine men and three women also will have the option of convicting Davis of less serious burglary and robbery charges.
Defense attorney Phillip Dabney Jr. denied that Davis was the man caught on surveillance video going in and out of the apartment building, mostly with a white T-shirt over his face.
Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Seaman spent 20 minutes of his summation switching back and forth between cellphone records and video clips to try to prove that Davis was the man seen in the video because his phone wasn’t in use at times when the video showed he was allegedly in the apartment building.
“My client Matthew had no part in this,” Dabney told the jury. He said the only person who can place him at the scene is co-defendant Teara D. Fatico, who pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree burglary and is serving 13 years in prison.
Fatico testified that she was having an affair with the married Davis, and that Davis became upset when Bradberry sent her a Facebook message asking to meet her.
She said Davis directed her to go to Bradberry’s apartment and see if there was anything worth stealing. Davis enlisted her friend Chastity L. Wilson, a professional stripper, to come along and help out.
Wilson received the same plea deal and sentence as Fatico but refused to testify against Davis.
Dabney said there was about a pound of marijuana in the apartment, which was stolen. He told the jury, “I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s for personal use. I submit stress is going to be an occupational hazard for Mr. Bradberry.”
An autopsy said Bradberry died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease, caused by obesity. Dr. Dianne R. Vertes, Erie County’s chief medical examiner, said Bradberry’s injuries in the fight were an indirect factor in his death.
Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Seaman told the jury that County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III will instruct them that “it does not matter if there was a pre-existing medical condition.” He said the jury can convict Davis if it believes he injured Bradberry and that the injuries contributed to his death.
Dabney said, “It is the unfortunate conclusion it was his time, due to his disease.”
Seaman replied, “Dr. Vertes told you that were it not for this prolonged, violent struggle, Antoine Bradberry would not have died that day.”