The trial set to begin Wednesday of a Buffalo man accused in the May 2013 killing of a Kenmore bar owner was delayed a day while a psychologist hired by the defense completes his evaluation of the defendant.
Antonio Martin-Brown, 21, of Buffalo, is charged with second-degree murder in the May 19, 2013, beating death of Malone’s Bar & Grill owner Vincent J. Cottone, 62, in the victim’s home. He also is charged with petit larceny for allegedly stealing a check from Cottone’s home.
The nonjury trial before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia was adjourned Wednesday after prosecutors learned that Charles P. Ewing, an attorney and forensic psychologist at the University at Buffalo, had interviewed Martin-Brown on Friday and wanted to interview him again Wednesday.
Assistant District Attorney Paul E. Bonanno said he had not received a report on any of Ewing’s findings and questioned whether Ewing would be called to testify.
Buscaglia granted Bonanno’s request for the adjournment but denied his motion to preclude Martin-Brown from using an extreme emotional disturbance defense.
Defense lawyer Andrew C. LoTempio maintained he has always been up front with prosecutors about his intention to present an extreme emotional disturbance defense, which he said does not require expert testimony.
“I have laid out what our defense is to the prosecution from the day that Mr. Martin-Brown turned himself over,” LoTempio said outside the courtroom.
“We’re talking about a defense that’s right in the murder statute that has to do with somebody who’s emotionally overcharged at the time of the incident.
“This is not a psychiatric defense. We do not need to call a psychiatrist. This could be based on the defendant’s testimony.”
LoTempio also offered some insight into the defense, claiming that Cottone and Martin-Brown had “an ongoing sexual relationship.”
“Unfortunately, Mr. Brown thought it was more than that and different than it was,” LoTempio said.
Martin-Brown stole the check after Cottone refused his request to borrow money to pay a DWI fine, LoTempio said.
Bonanno referred questions about LoTempio’s comments to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, who said the Erie County grand jury’s indictment of Martin-Brown makes no allegations about the victim or defendant’s sexual orientations or relationship.