Former district attorneys did not decline prosecution

I was the district attorney of Erie County from Jan. 1, 1974, through Dec. 31, 1981. My experience includes service as an FBI agent, and a practicing attorney for more than 42 years. I remember well the Patti Rodriguez murder case of April 13, 1979, which occurred in Holy Cross Cemetery. I tramped and played hockey in the cemetery as I grew up on Reed Street in Lackawanna just across from the cemetery.

In April 1979, an assistant district attorney was assigned to the Lackawanna Police Department under our Police Counsel Program, as was an assistant district attorney to every Police Department in Erie County. This homicide came to our immediate attention and a suspect was also immediately identified. The investigation continued within our office and with the Lackawanna detectives. The progress of the investigation was continually monitored by very experienced assistant district attorneys in our downtown offices. I believe that Justice Timothy Drury and former District Attorney Frank Clark and now deceased Assistant District Attorney Alfred Ranni were involved in the direction, encouragement and investigation being conducted by the Lackawanna Police Department.

At no time did I ever decline prosecution. I am sure that my successors as district attorney, Judge Richard Arcara, Judge Kevin Dillon and Clark, did not decline prosecution. I am also sure that they continued to work with the detectives. A murder case is never closed.

I have the utmost confidence in the good judgment of District Attorney Frank Sedita as the chief law enforcement officer of Erie County. His obligation is to see that justice is done for both the victims of crime, the suspects, the defendants and the convicted. The district attorney is elected to make the ultimate judgments over the actions of our police officers. This is what our democracy requires.

Edward C. Cosgrove

Attorney at Law