MAYVILLE – The retrial against the Cheektowaga man who stands accused of attacking and attempting to murder a Chautauqua County Sheriff deputy continued Wednesday in Mayville.
Justin Haffa is accused of attacking sheriff deputy Sara Cunningham during a traffic stop along Route 60 in the town of Pomfret in the early morning hours of Sept. 11, 2016. He’s accused of wrestling Cunningham to the ground, using a knife during the incident, and also taking her service weapon before fleeing the scene. He is facing charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.
According to the Post-Journal, a taped interview with Haffa, conducted by sheriff’s office investigator Randy Boland following Haffa’s arrest, was played for the jury. In addition, Boland took the stand for the District Attorney’s office. Through the interview and Boland’s testimony, the jury learned Haffa had broken down and said he didn’t know why he did it and also that he didn’t want to hurt anyone. It was also learned that he had consumed both alcohol and a number of other over the counter and prescription medications prior to the incident.
Public Defender Ned Barone questioned Boland on things discussed in the interview, but were left out of Haffa’s written statement prepared by the detective. Barone specifically alluded to the “I never meant to hurt anyone” statement, the part when he discusses his mental health, and the part when he said he never hit her. Boland responded by saying that it would be “choppier” to have those statements in there.
It’s the second time Haffa has been tried for the case, after a mistrial was declared during the first court proceedings last year when it was learned the District Attorney’s office failed to provide the defense with evidence.
The trial will continue Thursday.