An Erie County Court jury today convicted a Buffalo man in the shooting death of a liquor store owner during a Cheektowaga home invasion.
Edward McCloud, 41, of Person Street, was convicted of second-degree murder and first-degree burglary and robbery counts. The jury, which began deliberating Monday, found that he unlawfully entered the home of Armod R. Law, stole property and shot him in the head with a semiautomatic handgun.
McCloud faces a sentence of up to 25 years to life when he is sentenced on Dec. 6.
“Science convicts this defendant,” homicide prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable told jurors during her closing argument Monday.
McCloud’s DNA was found on several items connected to last November’s homicide on West Grand Boulevard in Cheektowaga, Curtin Gable said. McCloud was the major source of DNA on a piece of duct tape recovered from the kitchen that prosecutors said was used to bind another person who was not injured during the break-in.
The surviving victim could not identify McCloud.
However, Rocky Jones III, 27, of Parkview Terrace, has pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge for his role in the home invasion and testified at McCloud’s trial that McCloud is the man with whom he participated in the violent crime.
Police arrested Jones after DNA testing connected him to a piece of a latex glove found at the crime scene.
After his arrest, Jones eventually cooperated with authorities. Jones is the “one person who could identify this defendant” as his accomplice, and he did so, said Curtin Gable, who, with Assistant District Attorney Mary Beth DePasquale, prosecuted McCloud.
“Rocky Jones doesn’t deserve a medal or an award,” she said. “He’s no hero for cooperating. He is cooperating to help himself. His award is a minimum of 17 years in prison.”
Defense attorney Michael L. D’Amico told jurors not to believe Jones’ testimony.
“You can’t trust that man. He’s not telling the truth,” said D’Amico, calling Jones a criminal who has broken into homes wearing a Halloween mask.
Jones wants to reduce his prison sentence so “he’s pointing the finger at an innocent man,” D’Amico said.
In negotiations, prosecutors told Jones they would recommend a sentence of at least 17 years, possibly more, in return for his cooperation.
“Not exactly a gift,” Curtin Gable said of the deal.
Jones had faced 25 years to life when he was initially charged with murder.
McCloud’s murder trial has lasted slightly longer than a week before Erie County Judge Sheila A. DiTullio.
Even if jurors do not find Jones to be credible, the DNA evidence is sufficient to convict McCloud, Curtin Gable said.
McCloud testified in his own defense last week and denied breaking into the home and killing Law. He said Jones did not tell the truth.
“I don’t know what was going through his mind or what he did,” McCloud said of Jones.
McCloud testified he was at his Buffalo home playing video games with a roommate during the home invasion.
The roommate did not back that assertion in interviews with Cheektowaga detectives.
“They want you to believe Rocky Jones committed this crime with someone else,” Curtin Gable told jurors.
Testing could not exclude McCloud as a contributor of DNA found on gloves and a jacket connected to the break-in.