BUFFALO—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Ernest Green, a/k/a “Ern,” 29, of Buffalo, New York, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with violating the Federal Hobbs Act, that is, a robbery affecting interstate commerce by means of force, violence and fear of injury. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert C. Moscati, who is handling the case, stated that Green is accused of robbing and later shooting Jabril Harper in Roosevelt Park in Buffalo on December 16, 2009. According to the complaint, the defendant and several accomplices took Harper at gunpoint from the Pine Harbor apartments area and eventually transported him to Roosevelt Park, where Green and another accomplice each shot Harper in the head, causing his death. The complaint further alleges that the defendant stole jewelry, money, and cocaine from Harper.
“Up until now, our office has utilized federal law to prosecute members of organized street gangs who commit acts of violence on the streets of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Today’s charge marks the first time in recent memory we have used those laws to prosecute persons who may not be part of a formal gang, but who engage in robbery and murder for profit. We will continue to assist our local law enforcement partners as we together work to reduce crime in Western New York.”
The defendant had an initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott. Green is being detained and is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 19, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. before Judge Scott.
The complaint resulted from an outstanding and tireless investigation on the part of the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda; special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota; and NYS Parole, under the direction of Area Director Bill Fortune.
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.