(WNY News Now) – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that a 23-year-old Amherst man was sentenced on November 29, 2023, before State Supreme Court Justice Deborah A. Haendiges to a determinate sentence of 2 years in prison followed by 3 years of post-release supervision, as well as an indeterminate sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison, to run concurrently to the other term.
Cheektowaga, N.Y. – On Thursday, March 10, 2022, at approximately 11:01 a.m., 23-year-old Shaland S. Souverain of Amherst, who was scheduled for a supervised visit, took his own 4-year-old child from the Erie County Department of Social Services office on Union Road in the Town of Cheektowaga while knowingly in violation of an existing order of protection.
A Child Protective Services (CPS) employee chased after the defendant as he exited the building with the child. When the CPS worker attempted to stop the defendant from leaving, the defendant pushed the CPS employee to the ground as he entered his own vehicle with the child. The CPS worker stood up and attempted to stop the defendant from leaving by standing behind the vehicle. The defendant assaulted the CPS employee by intentionally hitting the victim with his vehicle as he fled the scene. The employee was treated at ECMC for injuries to his arm and side of his body.
The defendant was located by police at his apartment on the 200 block of Travers Circle in the Town of Amherst. He was taken into custody without incident after a nearly five-hour standoff with law enforcement. The child was found unharmed and returned to the custody of Erie County Child Protective Services.
On October 12, 2023, Souverain pleaded guilty to one count of Assault in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony) and one count of Custodial Interference in the First Degree (Class “E” felony). As part of his sentence today, final no-contact orders of protection were issued for both victims, which remain in effect until March 2035.
The defendant’s mother, 47-year-old Dian Schul of Amherst, was also charged for her role in the crime. Schul was inside of the apartment when her son arrived with the child in violation of the order of protection. Schul had knowledge of an existing Court order that prevented her son from having custody of the child. She also refused numerous orders by police during the nearly 5-hour standoff.
On February 2, 2023, Schul pleaded guilty before Justice Haendiges to one count of Custodial Interference in the First Degree (Class “E” felony). In April 2023, she was sentenced to time served and five years of probation.