BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Tillman Ward has told police that Riccardo McCray is responsible for the mass shooting outside a downtown Buffalo restaurant last summer.
Ward, who was shot and injured in the August 14 shooting, is being held in jail on an unrelated felony weapons charge. In exchange for his "truthful testimony," Tillman will have the charges against him reduced, said prosecutor James Bargnesi.
"What's significant about Tillman Ward is that he made that identification at such a late date," said McCray's defense attorney Joseph Terranova. "He's been interviewed repeatedly and has been shown the video and he has previously denied that he can identify the shooter."
Four other people are looking for similar deals from prosecutors. They are jailhouse informants who claim to have received information from McCray about the case while they were held at the Erie County Holding Center.
The current and former inmates will be allowed to testify at the trial, Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio ruled on Monday.
"Well I think the prosecution is hungry for identification of the shooter," said Terranova, who would not reveal his defense strategy or if McCray will testify at his own trial.
Judge DiTullio also ruled that prosecutors will be able to use statements McCray made to police following his arrest.
But the district attorney's office will not be able to refer to McCray by his aliases "Murder" or "Murder Matt.," the judge ruled.
They will also be restricted from mentioning McCray's previous 11 arrests if they cross examine McCray in the event he takes the stand.
Prosecutor Mary Beth DePasquale told the court that McCray has been arrested 11 times on charges of marijuana possession, weapons possession and for home invasions. McCray was never convicted of the alleged crimes.
McCray turned himself in a few days following the mass shooting, which left four people dead and four others injured, including Ward.
William McCaa III, Tiffany Wilhite, Danyell Mackin and Shawntia McNeil were killed.
Jury selection is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 10 a.m. Opening statements could come as early as Friday.
Security is expected to be tight. Spectators, including members of the media, will undergo two separate security screenings and will be photographed by court deputies.
Officials are concerned that witnesses will be threatened or be subject to retaliation.