LOCKPORT – The mother of Antoine M. Bradberry, who died in his Niagara Falls apartment during a 2011 robbery, took Monday’s postponement of the convicted killer’s sentencing in stride.
“It’s all in God’s hands right now, but he will do time for what he did,” Janice Bradberry said of Matthew A. Davis, whose sentencing was put off after his attorneys filed a motion seeking a new trial.
Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said he will produce a written ruling on the motion brought by defense counsel Michael S. Deal and Philip Dabney Jr. He said Davis will be sentenced April 18 – unless he grants the motion to overturn the jury’s Dec. 7 verdict.
Davis, 37, never was charged with intentionally killing Bradberry, 41, in the latter’s apartment on Rainbow Boulevard in Niagara Falls.
Instead, Davis was charged with felony murder by causing Bradberry’s death Aug. 22, 2011, in the course of committing a robbery.
Davis allegedly used two women to scope out Bradberry’s apartment before entering and trying to steal a cache of marijuana. The jury deliberated less than two hours before convicting Davis on Dec. 7.
An autopsy by Dr. Jonrika Malone of the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that Bradberry’s death was caused by “hypertensive cardiovascular disease,” but the manner of death was left undetermined. The victim also was found to have a broken nose and jaw.
Police officers who went to the scene after Bradberry’s father discovered the body said there was a large amount of blood spattered around the apartment.
Deal argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove that Bradberry’s death was caused by anything Davis might have done.
“There has to be a direct link between the defendant’s actions and the death,” Deal argued.
“There was no blunt-force trauma that caused his death, that’s true,” Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann replied. “It was the stress on his heart caused by this violent struggle that caused his death.”
Deal said he and Dabney didn’t find out until the first day of the trial that Malone would not be testifying, having been, as Deal put it, “excused” by the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Medical Examiner Dr. Diane Vertes took the stand, but Hoffmann said the defense passed up an opportunity Murphy offered to subpoena Malone. “They want her conclusions, but they don’t want to bring her back [to testify],” Hoffmann said.
Prosecutors showed the jury video clips from the Jefferson Apartments’ surveillance cameras. They showed a man with a white T-shirt over his face heading toward Bradberry’s apartment. One of the women involved in the case, Teara D. Fatico, testified that the man was Davis. She and Chastity L. Wilson, 23, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree burglary and were each sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Deal also said Davis told him that after Murphy dismissed the two alternate jurors at the start of deliberations, they sat on the Bradberry family’s side of the courtroom during the jury’s return to ask Murphy some questions.