Anthony J. Allen, found guilty of beating a youth counselor to death in a Lockport group home in 2009, got what he had coming, an appeals court ruled Friday as it unanimously upheld Allen’s conviction and sentence.
Allen, 22, of Rochester, is serving a sentence of 25 years to life in prison for beating Renee C. Greco to death June 8, 2009, by repeatedly hitting her in the head with a wooden table leg with protruding screws.
“We conclude that the sentence is not unduly harsh or severe in the light of the depraved nature of defendant’s conduct and his refusal to accept responsibility,” the five-judge panel ruled.
Other residents of the home for troubled teenagers testified that Allen attacked Greco, 24, of Buffalo, after co-defendant Robert J. Thousand threw a blanket over Greco’s head as she sat playing cards with other residents of a state-licensed group home operated by New Directions Youth & Family Services on East Avenue in Lockport.
However, the jury acquitted Allen of intentional killing and convicted him of “felony murder,” a killing committed in the course of carrying out another felony, in this case a break-in to the group home’s office to steal the keys to a van which Allen, Thousand and a third, uncharged resident used to flee.
They were captured in Buffalo.
Thousand, 20, of Rochester, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and is serving a 20-year sentence. His appeal was rejected last June.
Friday, the appellate panel rejected all the arguments made during the trial by E. Earl Key, Allen’s attorney, about the alleged errors he said were made by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.
On the main issue Key raised, the five-judge panel said Farkas was correct to allow prosecutors to alter the indictment during the trial to charge that Allen acted in concert with Thousand as well as unnamed others.
Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said at Allen’s sentencing that the indictment was altered in response to Key’s claim that other residents in the house were involved in the killing. One juror told The Buffalo News that altering the indictment made Allen’s conviction “a slam dunk.”