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City Man Again Indicted In 2019 Shooting

Julio Montanez

For the second time in less than a year, a Jamestown man has been indicted on charges he shot and killed another person during a reported drug deal in Sherman.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson announced the three-count indictment against 26-year-old Julio Montanez on charges of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree attempted murder. According to investigators, Montanez met with a group Oct. 6, 2019, in the parking lot of a Sherman bar to arrange a narcotics deal.

During the transaction, Gibbons and another person allegedly began to strike and kick Montanez. At one point, Montanez retrieved a gun and fired several rounds into a vehicle occupied by Gibbons and two other people. One bullet struck the driver’s side door and several other rounds struck the back of the vehicle.

Following the shooting, the vehicle went off the road and came to a stop near the bar. Gibbons, who was struck by two bullets, was transported to Westfield Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Swanson has asserted that Montanez fired into the vehicle as it was driving away.

Montanez was previously indicted on the three charges. However, that indictment was dismissed on Oct. 1 of this year by Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley, who said the District Attorney’s Office failed to properly handle the grand jury proceeding regarding potential defenses for the shooting.

“Although the People have broad discretion in presenting a case to a Grand Jury and need not present evidence favorable to the Defendant, including every complete defense suggested by the evidence, the People must present such evidence if a defense rests upon the potential for eliminating a needless prosecution and which is reasonably supported by the evidence,” Foley said, later adding, “In assessing whether the evidence presented supports a justification defense, the testimony before the Grand Jury must be viewed in the light most favorable to the defendant.”

He later added: “Failure to furnish complete instructions to a Grand Jury where the evidence reasonably supports the possibility that no indictment may be returned renders the proceeding defective.”

The district attorney had the option of either appealing Foley’s ruling or bring the case to a grand jury within 30 days.

“This case is back in the posture it was three weeks ago and is again moving forward toward trial,” Swanson said in a statement.“I want to thank the members of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and the Forensic Investigation Team involved in re-presenting this matter. I sincerely appreciate their professionalism.”

Montanez was arraigned Monday in front of Foley. Bail was set at $150,000 cash, $300,000 property bond. He is due back in court for a conference Nov. 16.

“Mr. Montanez has entered a plea of not guilty to all counts in the indictment and continues to maintain his innocence,” said Chautauqua County Public Defender Ned Barone when reached Monday.

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