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Grand jury returns indictment in Toys R Us killing

HAMBURG — An Erie County grand jury has handed down an indictment against Bernard “Bernie” Grucza in last June’s killing of Toys R Us Assistant Store Manager Laurence “Larry” Wells of Blasdell.

Grand jury proceedings are secret and the specific count charged in the indictment will not be known until Grucza is formally arraigned, potentially some time next week.

At the time of his arrest, Grucza, 38, was charged with murder in the second degree; whether additional charges were handed down by the grand jury are not known.

Grucza’s attorney, Frank Housh, said that he had been informed by the district attorney’s office, by affidavit, that the grand jury indictment had been secured.

Housh said he believed that, when the indictment is unsealed, his client will be charged with second degree murder. As a result of the indictment, a court appearance scheduled for Oct. 22 was cancelled.

Procedurally, the charge against Grucza in the town of Hamburg was superseded by the grand jury action and the case in Hamburg was dismissed. The matter will next be transferred to a superior court trial judge in Buffalo for arraignment, most likely some time next week.

Grucza’s attorney intimated that he may seek a change of venue in the case, citing what he termed “prejudicial” statements regarding his client. Housh was referring to statements attributed to law enforcement personnel in Sunday’s Buffalo News.

Despite what has been attributed to the police, Grucza’s attorney said that he plans to try the case “in a court of law and not in the papers.”

Housh, who had met with his client several times, maintained that Grucza “did not kill Wells” and added that “the truth will come out at trial.”

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