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Grucza Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter in Toys R Us Death

Hamburg, NY (WBEN) - The man accused of stabbing a Toys 'R' Us manager has pleaded guilty.

Bernard Grucza appeared at a pre-trial hearing to take a plea of guilty to a charge of manslaughter in connection with the death of manager Laurence Wells last June 30th.

"After my client had the opportunity to consider what had happened, he made the determination that it was best for him to plead guilty and take responsibility for what he did," said Frank Housh, Grucza's attorney. Housh also mentioned that the plea was in his client's best interest, as it resolves all pending cases against Grucza.

The plea comes with a 25 year prison term. A 5 year term on unrelated weapons charges will be served concurrently.

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says there was no question they could prove Grucza committed the crime. "This is essentially a DNA case," Sedita said. "There was a hat that was found at the murder scene that came back to match Grucza's DNA. Also the feed to the video surveillance system, on the power cord, there was DNA on that and that came back as a match."

Why did Grucza commit the crime?

"He claimed poverty," Sedita said. "He had expenses having to deal with his wife. Whether that's true or not I don't know, and it really doesn't matter because you don't have to prove motive to prove a homicide."

Grucza cannot appeal the sentence.

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