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Kenyatta Austin convicted on five charges in Grape Street murder trial

Kenyatta Austin has been convicted on five charges in connection to killing a woman and her grandson on Grape St. in Buffalo in 2018.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kenyatta Austin has been convicted on five charges in connection to a July 2, 2018 shooting that killed Yvette Johnson and her 17-month-old grandchild, Kyrie on Grape Street in Buffalo and injured two others.

Yvette had celebrated her 54th birthday just hours before the shooting.

Austin was found guilty by Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case on two charges of murder, two charges of assault, and one charge of weapon possession.

Austin was found not guilty on three additional charges; two counts of depraved indifference and one count of reckless endangerment.

The trial wrapped up over three weeks ago but Judge Case delayed making a decision last month, saying he needed more time to review the evidence and testimony presented.

Police arrested Austin the day after the fatal shooting in Niagara Falls on a weapons charge. He was later indicted on murder and assault charges for the Grape Street shooting.

Austin waived his right to a jury trial.

The Erie County District Attorney says the fact that two witnesses came forward with information really helped the case.

"I had two brave individuals who said enough is enough. We all talk about this no snitch mentality that's out there, but in this case right here, there was also a mentality of enough is enough, and in this case right here, we had individuals who said enough is enough more so than I'm not gonna snitch," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

Austin's defense team said there's no direct evidence tying Austin to the murders let alone the scene of the crime. The prosecution claims there is plenty of circumstantial evidence to convict.

"There were too many leaps that were to be made by the finder of fact, and so, again, while we respect Judge Case, we vehemently disagree respectfully with the verdict," said defense attorney James Auricchio.

Austin is held without bail and faces a maximum of 64-years-to-life in prison when he is sentenced next month.

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