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Man found guilty on five counts in Grape Street double homicide

Posted at 10:46 AM, Feb 18, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Buffalo man has been found guilty on five counts for his role in a double homicide on Grape Street.

Judge Kenneth Case has reached a verdict in the Kenyatta Austin trial. Austin has been found guilty on two counts of murder in the 2nd degree, two counts of assault in the 2nd degree, and criminal possession of a weapon.

The case comes from July 2, 2018 when 54-year-old Yvette Johnson and her grandson 17-month-old Kyrie were shot and killed during a family gathering on Grape Street. Two months later, 26-year-old Kenyatta Austin was arrested in connection to the shooting.

Austin was accused of murder, and the trial was done without a jury, meaning the judge has sole discretion over the decision.

Throughout the trial, the defense argued that "circumstantial evidence" and a lack of credibility from witnesses were enough to prove Austin's innocence.

As for the prosecution, they were able to use EZ-Pass records and Austin's cellphone records to show he had been in Buffalo during the time of the shooting, not at his home in Niagara Falls. The prosecution also had on record that Austin's significant other said she heard Austin talk about being involved in a shooting. A gun matching the shooting was found in Austin's basement, and his rental car had bullet holes in it.

To the defense, all of this evidence was just circumstantial. They argued that police were so invested in finding a suspect, that they were rushing to point the finger at Austin. Not a single witness could place Austin at the scene, nor were any cameras available to capture the shooting.

District Attorney John Flynn believes there are other people who were involved in the shooting, but says there has not been enough evidence to bring charges.

The trial wrapped up on January 24th.