Bernard T. “Bernie” Grucza, who is under 24-hour supervision at the Erie County Holding Center, appeared in Hamburg Town Court Friday morning with his hands cuffed to a chain around his stomach and his feet shackled.
Grucza, 38, formerly of Elma and most recently living in Allegany, has been charged with second-degree murder in the June killing of Laurence C. “Larry” Wells II inside the Hamburg Toys R Us store.
Investigators have said they believe Grucza was stealing either money or merchandise when Wells, the assistant manager, came into the store early on the morning of June 29.
Employees later found Wells in a chair, mortally wounded, with two or three stab wounds. He was rushed to Mercy Hospital where he died.
Friday’s preliminary hearing before Hamburg Town Justice Walter L. Rooth was adjourned until 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
Grucza was quiet in court, as he sat next to his attorney, Frank Housh. He was wearing the same gray sweatpants and long-sleeved blue checked shirt that he had on when he was arraigned Wednesday on the murder charge.
He was later transported back to the Erie County Holding Center, where he is being held without bail.