Four men have been found guility in last year's ambush killing of a South Buffalo native working as a diplomat in the Sudan.
John Granville, a graduate of Canisius High School, and his driver were shot to death as they drove home from a New Year's party. At the time, Granville was working for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
William Hochul, Jr., national security chief for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Buffalo says the men convicted face the death penalty. Hochul is awaiting word on the fate of a fifth suspect.
At the time, Granville was working to implement a 2005 peace agreement between Sudan's north and south that ended more than two decades of civil war.
Granville's family released the following statement reacting to Wednesday's developments:
Today in Sudan, four men were sentenced for the murder of John Granville and Abdel Rahman Abbas. John was our beloved son, dear brother, and friend. Although the guilty sentence brings us relief, not even justice can bring him back to us.
John spent a good part of his life in Africa, among the people he loved, as we loved him. He believed he could help them make a better life and a better future for their children. John gave his life, both for his country and for Africa - - even as we gave Africa our John, knowing that he died as he had lived - - true to his beliefs.
The fact remains, however, this has been the greatest possible personal loss for his family and friends. This act was no less than an assassination. John's position as an American in Africa, a Westerner in an automobile with diplomatic plates, made him a target for people of ill intent. His driver, Mr. Abbas, paid with his life as well.
Under the Sudanese legal system, money can be offered in exchange for a more lenient sentence. It is called, "blood money" and both the Granville and the Abbas families have chosen to reject it. No money can buy our silence to these murders. The offering of it is clearly an act of admission of guilt, and our rejection of it is clearly a condemnation of this act.
We must publicly thank USAID employees Kate Almquist, Stephanie Funk, Teresa McGhie, and Idris Diaz, all of whom knew John personally and worked alongside him. They enabled us to reach this point in the trial; without them our understanding of the case would have been incomplete. Their knowledge of Africa and the African people, their advice, counsel and concern has allowed us to reach closure today.
We would also like to give special thanks to Congressman Brian Higgins and US Attorney William Hochul for their personal and professional support. Despite our tragedy, which is a loss for Africa as well, John's memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all those who, like him, dedicated themselves to freedom and justice. Thank you.