Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

October 29, 2012

Walmart stabber gets 25 to life

By Jim Krencik
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

ALBION — Luis A. Rodriguez-Flamenco received the maximum sentence allowed by law Monday for taking the life of an Albion woman in what County Court Judge James Punch said was a "brutal, savage" act.

After a brief session at the Orleans County Court, Punch said he saw no reason for delivering anything less than a 25 years to life sentence for Rodriguez-Flamenco for second-degree murder in the Oct. 30, 2011 stabbing death of Kathleen I. Byham.

"All murders are senseless, but this was the most senseless and profoundly selfish act that I've seen," Punch said. "(Rodriguez-Flamenco) took a lovely, innocent persons life."

Rodriguez-Flamenco, a Honduran national whom law enforcement officials confirmed was in the country illegally, spoke only briefly in court after statements were made by District Attorney Joe Cardone, Public Defender Sanford Church and Paul Fox, Byham's fiance.

"Nah, just give me my time," Rodriguez-Flamenco said.

Byham, 45, sold personalized greeting cards online from her Gaines Basin Road home and had recently completed her Ph.D from the Art Institute of California-San Francisco. She died from multiple stab wounds after being assaulted by Rodriguez-Flamenco in the parking lot of the Route 31 Walmart.

Rodriguez-Flamenco was apprehended following a massive search operation and appeared repeatedly in the past year in both Albion Town Court and County Court.

In July, Rodriguez-Flamenco pleaded guilty to the repeated stabbing, which he blamed on a mixture of drugs and alcohol — an assertion challenged by Cardone at the plea hearing. His actions were captured on video by a security camera.

Cardone said Rodriguez-Flamenco has shown no remorse for the crime, which he said "couldn't get more random or violent."

"Not at all, nothing from day one," said Cardone, who requested the maximum sentence in court Monday. "This is the best justice we can do, there's no greater sentence."

Cardone said that lesser charges filed against Rodriguez-Flamenco for incidents in Medina last year and during his incarceration were being withdrawn.

Fox, still grieving the loss of Byham after 14 years together, said he hopes that Rodriguez-Flamenco is never released from prison.

"He shouldn't be let back into society," Fox said. "People should know what he did and what he is capable of doing."

A year after her needless death, Fox, a former court security officer, said he draws on Byham's memory for inspiration to carry on in her absence.

"She had been on her own since she was 11 and (had medical issues), but she went on to get a degree," said Fox, who is studying human services at GCC. "She made me promise to finish school."

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.