Four Rochester Residents Charged With Felony Murder

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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Four Rochester Residents Charged With Felony Murder

March 30, 2011 Updated Mar 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y.-- ( RELEASE ) U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a 10-count Indictment charging Rico J. Vendetti, 41, Arlene Combs, 26 , Albert Parsons, 42, and Donald Griffin, 23, all of Rochester, N.Y., with felony murder in the death of 78-year old Homer Marciniak during the course of a home invasion robbery at Marciniak’s home in Medina, N.Y. in July, 2010. In addition, Vendetti and Combs are charged with racketeering and witness tampering. If convicted of the felony murder charge, Vendetti, Combs, Parsons and Griffin face a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony M. Bruce, who is handling the case, stated that the Indictment charges Vendetti, Combs, Parsons and Griffin with planning and carrying out a July 5, 2010 home invasion robbery at Marciniak’s Medina home. During the robbery, Marciniak’s valuable collection of collectible comic books was stolen and Marciniak was beaten. Several hours after being treated for bruises and lacerations suffered during the robbery and released from the hospital, Marciniak was readmitted to the hospital where he died of a heart attack.

The Indictment also charges Vendetti and Combs with running a racketeering enterprise engaged in shoplifting thousands of dollars from stores such as WalMart, Sears, Target, JoAnn Fabrics, Home Depot and chain drug stores. The defendants then allegedly sold that merchandise to customers throughout the United States using eBay sites Vendetti maintained.

In addition, both Vendetti and Combs are charged with attempting to get potential witnesses, in Vendetti’s case, to provide the FBI and the grand jury with false statements and testimony, and in Combs’s case, to say nothing to the authorities if questioned about the Marciniak robbery and murder.

“This case is an example of the commitment of this Office to supporting our local law enforcement partners and to following the evidence of crime to wherever it leads,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In this case, what began as a local burglary case has-through the tireless efforts of local, county, state and federal officers-become a federal racketeering and murder case.”

The Indictment is the result of an investigation on the part of Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the direction of James H. Robertson, Troopers from the Troop A Major Crimes Unit of the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Batavia under the direction of Captain George Brown, Detectives from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Scott Hess, Detectives from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office under the direction of Sheriff Patrick O’Flynn, Officers from the Medina Police Department under the direction of Chief Jose Avila and Officers from the Rochester Police Department under the direction of Chief James Sheppard.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.