Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 15, 2013

M&T robbery accomplice takes plea deal

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The driver of the getaway car has pleaded guilty to his role in the March 8 robbery of the M&T Bank branch at Walnut and Pine streets.

James M. Williams, 31, 17 Tudor Lane, admitted Tuesday to third-degree attempted robbery, a class E nonviolent felony. The guilty plea was contingent on Williams waiving his right to appeal and paying $2,500 restitution to M&T Bank.

Also, as a result of the plea, Niagara County Court Judge Sara S. Farkas said Williams will be sentenced as a second felony offender. Williams was convicted of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B nonviolent drug felony, in April 2002, in Monroe County.

Williams will be sentenced Aug. 27 by Farkas. The judge said Williams faces a maximum sentence of two to four years in state prison.

Williams originally was charged with third-degree robbery, third-degree larceny and fifth-degree conspiracy. 

The man accused of the actual robbery, Joseph J. Trusello, 24, of Memorial Parkway, Niagara Falls, has been charged with third-degree robbery and third-degree grand larceny. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on May 2.

In March, according to Lockport Police Department, Trusello entered the M&T branch and demanded money but did not show a weapon. Trusello was seen fleeing on foot with an undetermined amount of cash and was arrested at a halfway house in Niagara Falls a few days later.

Trusello cooperated with Lockport police to set up a meeting with Williams, according to officers. Law enforcement officers from Lockport, Niagara Falls, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and federal parole officers converged at Niagara Falls Boulevard near the I-190 ramp to nab Williams on March 11, at the meeting he’d set up with Trusello.