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Date: 08-24-2021

Case Style:

United States of America v. William D. Wood, Jr.

Case Number: 5:19-cr-00058-TJM

Judge: Thomas J. McAvoy

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (Onondaga County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Syracuse, NY: Criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with robbery and murder.

William D. Wood, Jr. was charged for the September 2018 robbery and murders he committed at the Chili’s Grill and Bar in Dewitt, New York.

Wood, age 35, of Syracuse, entered guilty pleas to three federal felonies: one count of robbery and two counts of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and murder. He admitted that in September 2018, he planned and carried out an armed robbery of the Chili’s in Dewitt, and that during the commission of the robbery he directly caused the deaths of two people by use of a firearm.

Wood further admitted that during the early morning hours of September 15, 2018, armed with a loaded handgun, he forced his way into the back door of Chili’s, where four employees remained to close the restaurant. Wood admitted that he held all four employees on the ground at gunpoint, and after obtaining the available cash from the restaurant’s safe, shot and killed Stephen Gudknecht and Kristopher Hicks. Wood admitted that his gun malfunctioned as he attempted to shoot another employee, allowing time for that employee and a fourth employee to hide and flee from Wood.

Wood’s sentencing is scheduled for December 29, 2021 before Senior United States District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy in Binghamton, New York. He faces maximum sentences of 20 years on the robbery conviction, and life on each of the two firearms offenses. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors; however, by statute, the sentences imposed on each count of conviction in this case must run consecutively to one another.

Wood was previously sentenced in Onondaga County Court to life without parole following his plea of guilty to related state crimes, including two counts of Murder in the First Degree. Wood will serve his state sentence first, and if ever released by New York State, he would be surrendered to federal custody to serve any undischarged portion of his federal term of imprisonment.

This case was investigated by the ATF, the Town of Dewitt Police Department, and the New York State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lisa M. Fletcher and Michael D. Gadarian.


Outcome: 08/23/2021 80 PLEA AGREEMENT as to William D. Wood, Jr (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy; Change of Plea Hearing as to William D. Wood, Jr held on 8/23/2021; App: L. Fletcher and M. Gadarian, AUSAs, for Govt; R. Bianco and L. Peebles, AFPD, for Deft; Court Reporter: R. Lynch; Deft appears w/counsel and enters Guilty Plea to Cts 1 through 3 of the Indictment; Court accepts plea; Plea Agreement is filed; Court orders Presentence Report; Sentencing set for 12/29/2021 at 11:30am in Binghamton; Govt makes motion to lift the writ and allow the Deft to be transferred to state custody - GRANTED; Joint application and proposed order handed up; Court to issue the proposed protective order; Deft remanded. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 81 JOINT APPLICATION for an Amended Protective Order as to William D. Wood, Jr. Motion returnable before Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 82 PROTECTIVE ORDER as to William D. Wood Jr. Signed by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 8/23/2021.(amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 83 GUIDELINE ORDER as to William D. Wood, Jr: Sentencing set for 12/29/2021 at 11:30 AM in Binghamton before Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy. Government / Defendant Sentencing Memo Deadline: 12/8/2021. Signed by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 8/23/2021. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 84 STIPULATION / Joint Waiver of rights under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 85 CJA 7 as to William D. Wood, Jr - Order Terminating Appointment of Counsel: Representation by Attorney William T. Easton terminated. Authorized by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 8/23/2021. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)
08/23/2021 86 TEXT ORDER approving the 84 Stipulation / Joint Waiver of Rights under the Interstate Agreement on Detainers. Authorized by Senior Judge Thomas J. McAvoy on 8/23/2021. (amt) (Entered: 08/23/2021)

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