Bernard Grucza being led into Hamburg Town court
HAMBURG, NY - The man accused of the murder of Hamburg Toys R Us assistant manager Larry Wells appeared in court Friday.
Handcuffed and escorted by a Sheriff's deputy, Bernard Grucza, wearing a checkered shirt and grey sweatpants was taken before Hamburg Town Judge Walter Rooth, who denied media applications to allow cameras in court.
Grucza is charged with murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of Toys R Us Assistant Store Manager Larry Wells, who was attacked inside his office in the store on McKinley Parkway during the early morning hours of June 29th.
Grucza, who had been a Regional Asset Protection Manager for the company, made his second appearance before Rooth this week, after appearing before him following his arrest on Wednesday.
Friday's court appearance was brief, lasting only a few minutes.
It was just long enough for the judge to confirm that Grucza had hired a lawyer, and for the scheduled preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to continue to hold Grucza to be adjourned, pending the outcome of a grand jury presentation.
According to police, Grucza spoke often with them during the early stages of their investigation. But they say Grucza invoked his right to an attorney when arrested Wednesday.
Grucza said nothing to reporters outside the courthouse Friday.
The Assistant District Attorney handling the case and Grucza's attorney, Frank Housh, also declined comment.
At least two of the Hamburg Police Detectives who announced Grucza's arrest on Wednesday were also in court, however they too declined to speak to reporters.
If a Grand Jury has still not indicted Grucza by the time he is scheduled to return to town court next Tuesday at 4pm, the preliminary hearing would go forward.
However, if by then, grand jurors hand up an indictment, Grucza's case would be moved to a superior court for purposes of arraignment and where a judge would have the ability to set bail. (As a town judge, Rooth does not have the authority to set bail in cases involving Class A Felonies such as Murder.)
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave Mckinley and Photojournalist Terry Belke. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2