S. Dayton Man Acquitted Of All Charges

First Assistant Public Defender Benjamin J. Smith, Richard Tyma, right, Public Defender’s Office Investigator Mark Cunningham. This picture was taken upon Tyma's acquittal and release from the Cattaraugus County Jail. Submitted photo

LITTLE VALLEY — After a three-day jury trial in Cattaraugus County Court, Richard Tyma Sr., of South Dayton, was acquitted of all charges.

The trial was presided over by the Honorable Ronald D. Ploetz, Cattaraugus County Judge. Tyma, 73, was acquitted in the Nov. 3, 2018, shooting death of his son Daniel Tyma. Tyma was acquitted of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter. The jury deliberated for five and a half hours before finding Tyma innocent of both charges in the indictment.

The prosecution called 10 witnesses consisting of the decedent’s girlfriend, deputy sheriffs, a state trooper, 911 dispatchers, crime scene detectives, as well as a firearm’s expert, and a medical examiner.

The defense called three witnesses consisting of a former wife of the decedent, a neighbor, and a friend of the decedent who testified to the decedent’s propensity for violence and drug use.

During the early hours of Nov 3, 2018, police were dispatched to 206 Mill St. for complaints of unruly occupants by the homeowner, Richard Tyma Sr. Both calls resulted in no arrests. After the police left the second time, as testified to by the decedent’s girlfriend, Daniel Tyma became enraged, choked her and threatened to shoot Mr. Tyma’s dogs.

According to Richard Tyma, Daniel threatened to inject him with heroin.

Richard, who is wheelchair bound, and on oxygen, attempted to call 911 for a third time, but could not. The decedent’s girlfriend testified that Daniel Tyma unplugged the cordless phone to prevent Richard from calling the police for a third time.

Richard, at this point felt his life was in imminent danger. When Daniel barged into Richard’s bedroom, Richard fired a single shot that killed Daniel almost instantly.

According to First Assistant Public Defender Benjamin J. Smith, it is fortunate that Mr. Tyma lives in a community that is logical and rational and respects the Second Amendment and the right to defend one’s self in their own home.

Smith credits Public Defender’s Office investigator Mark Cunningham with uncovering witnesses who came forward and testified to Daniel Tyma’s propensity for violence and drug use.

Smith said, “While there are no winners in a case like this, Mr. Tyma is thankful for jurors fulfilling their civic duty.”