News & Culture

Shane Casado acquitted of murder in girlfriend’s shooting death

BUFFALO, N. Y. — The Erie County, New York jury selected to hear the murder case of Shane Casado, a man who fatally shot his girlfriend nearly three years ago, acquitted him of all charges Thursday, Oct. 8.

Jurors returned the verdict after deliberating for six hours.

Casado, 27, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Rachael Wierzbicki, his 22-year-old girlfriend of six months, on Nov. 27, 2018.

He took the stand during trial, maintaining that Wierzbicki was threatening him when shot her with a .22 caliber rifle outside his North Buffalo home. He told the jury she had been violent during their relationship and that he only brandished the gun to scare her away.

“I was not aware of the real dangers of the weapon,” he said.

Defense attorney Teo Siguenza said while his client did pull the trigger, the jury came to the right decision.

“I think it was clear if you watched the trial that what the government stated happened didn’t happen and we’re very happy that the jury was able to fairly evaluate the case and come to the right decision,” he said. “I think that the reality is that Shane never intended for this to happen, and the jury saw that he never intended for this to happen.”

The jury was also given the option of convicting Casado of first-degree manslaughter if they determined his intent was to injure Wierzbicki and not kill her.

District Attorney John Flynn said he disagrees with the verdict.

“They didn’t even give him the manslaughter,” Flynn told Buffalo’s WKBW Channel 7. “I don’t know this I haven’t talked to the jurors obviously, but at the end of the day, they felt that he may have been justified doing this, as part of that ‘ok’, that she was threatening him, and he really just didn’t mean to do this. Obviously, I think that’s ridiculous quite frankly. I disagree with it.”

Casado was offered a plea deal that would have taken life imprisonment off the table if he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He rejected the offer and proceeded to trial in what many felt was an open-and-shut case.

Nanette Casado addressed reporters following Thursday’s hearing, saying she was confident her son would be coming home.

“Not guilty. We knew that the whole time,” she said. “I want to send my condolences to the Wierzbicki’s family, but this was not an open-and-shut case. Again, not guilty, and I just want to thank everybody for their love and support at this time.”