Man Pleads Guilty to Making Threats Against Courthouses and Witness

(WNY News Now) – A 41-year-old Williamsville man has pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including making terroristic threats, criminal contempt, tampering with a witness, and aggravated harassment. The plea comes as jury selection was set to commence, revealing a disturbing incident involving threats to courthouses and a witness in a criminal case.

Erie County, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced today that Johnathan J. Rzoska, a 41-year-old resident of Williamsville, has entered a guilty plea to a series of serious charges. The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of Making a Terroristic Threat (Class “D” felonies), one count of Criminal Contempt in the First Degree, one count of Tampering with a Witness in the Third Degree (Class “E” felonies), and one count of Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree (Class “A” misdemeanor). This plea comes on the brink of jury selection for Rzoska’s trial.

The charges stem from an incident on the morning of December 16, 2022. The victim, who is tied to a criminal case involving Rzoska, reported to the Amherst Police Department that he had received a threatening text message, causing him reasonable fear. Notably, this message was sent in clear violation of an existing order of protection. Further exacerbating the situation, a similar threatening text had been sent on September 6, 2022, leading to the issuance of a temporary order of protection for the victim and his family.

On the same day, at approximately 8:25 a.m., Erie County Central Police Services received a distressing call from Rzoska. In the call, he explicitly threatened to “blow up” both the Erie County Court building and the Williamsville Village Court building. Promptly responding to the severity of the threat, authorities evacuated and meticulously searched both structures. Rzoska, scheduled to appear in court that morning, was taken into custody upon entering the parking lot of the Williamsville Village Court building.

As a consequence of his guilty plea, Rzoska now faces a maximum of 7 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled to take place before Erie County Court Judge Suzanne Maxwell Barnes on Wednesday, January 17, 2024, at 9:30 a.m. Rzoska remains held without bail pending sentencing.

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