Grucza Pleads Not Guilty to Federal Charges

BUFFALO – The man accused of second-degree murder in the high-profile Toys 'R Us homicide pleaded not guilty Monday to separate weapons charges in federal court.

Bernard Grucza, 38, who walked in and out of the courtroom still in handcuffs, entered a not guilty plea after a grand jury indicted him on multiple charges last week, including making false statements during a firearm purchase and having a firearm while under a domestic order of protection. The federal charges are unrelated to the second-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of Larry Wells, the assistant manager at the Toys 'R Us in Hamburg. He was found dead inside the store in late June, and in October, authorities arrested Grucza in connection to that murder.

Grucza's attorney requested $10,000 bail, but Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr., ordered him to remain detained since he's already in state custody. He said if the state were to release Grucza, the matter of bail could be revisited.

Grucza's federal charges could net him up to 10 years in prison.

Judge Schroeder set an April 4 deadline for the defense to file any pre-trial motions. If the defense files those motions, oral arguments would happen in court on May 14.


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