MAYVILLE – Sheriff Joe Gerace wasn’t pleased after a county jury acquitted a man who was accused of trying to kill one of his deputies during traffic stop in 2016.
” I’m very disappointed with the verdict, and, obviously, we were hopeful that he (Haffa) would be found guilty of all of the charges,” said Gerace when reached by phone on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the 22-year-old Haffa crashed his vehicle on Route 60 in the town of Pomfret, and disobeyed an order by Deputy Sara Cunningham to participate in a field sobriety test.
Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson told a jury Tuesday that Haffa tried to rob and kill Cunningham and used her vehicle to escape the scene.
Haffa was acquitted on charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and aggravated assault.
The jury did convict him on a third-degree robbery charge.
Wednesday’s verdict came five months after a mistrial was declared.
The mistrial in September occurred as Haffa’s Attorney, Ned Barone, discovered a key piece of DNA evidence from prosecutors was missing prior to trial or before the state rested its case.