Bernard “Bernie” Grucza, the man suspected in the Toys R Us killing of Lawrence Wells, appeared with his attorney in the town of Hamburg Court Oct. 18. Grucza, who was handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, did not speak, during his 5-minute appearance. The hearing lasted only long enough for the court to verify that Grucza is represented by counsel and to schedule a status update for Tuesday, Oct. 22 in the town court.
In the interim, it is expected that the case will proceed directly to an Erie County Grand Jury. Should that jury return a felony indictment against the subject, the case will be transferred from Hamburg to a superior trial court in Buffalo. If no indictment is returned by the 22nd, the matter will proceed to a preliminary hearing in Hamburg. At the preliminary hearing the prosecution would have to demonstrate that there is sufficient evidence against Grucza to hold him for trial.
It is most likely, however, given the circumstances of the case, that the grand jury will return an indictment before next Tuesday; the matter will be dismissed in Hamburg and an arraignment will be scheduled in superior court on that indictment.
Grucza, who is represented by attorney Frank Housh, was arrested in the June 29 murder of Wells. Both men were Toys R Us employees and the murder took place in the early morning hours at the Hamburg store.
Grucza was arrested last Tuesday and arraigned later that day. He is currently being held in the Erie County Holding Center without bail.