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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 24, 2020

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Lying On The Stand While Testifying About A Murder In A Federal Trial

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jonathan Singletary, a/k/a Freeze, 38, of Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to obstructing an official proceeding. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin G. Bish, Charles J. Volkert, Jr., and Meghan A. Tokash, who are handling the case, stated that in January 2010, the defendant informed his New York State parole officer that he had information concerning the murder of Jabril Harper, which occurred on December 16, 2009, and the robbery of Morris Singer, which occurred on January 4, 2010.

On January 11, 2010, Singletary provided a signed, sworn statement to the Buffalo Police Department. In the statement, the defendant said that Rodshaun Black came to his house on December 23, 2009, and told him that he and Ernest Green had robbed and killed Jabril Harper in Roosevelt Park after the victim began fighting them. Singletary also told the detectives that Black admitted the murder of Jabril Harper was part of a $10,000 contract killing. The defendant shared these details once again on December 6, 2011, while testifying before a federal grand jury.

On October 25, 2017, representatives of the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI met with Singletary to prepare Singletary for testimony in the trial of Rodshaun Green and Ernest Black. An Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) reviewed the January 11, 2010, sworn statement the defendant made to the Buffalo Police Detectives and the defendant’s sworn grand jury testimony from December 6, 2011. Singletary expressed reluctance to testify and did not want to read his prior Buffalo Police statement or his grand jury testimony, so the AUSA read it to the defendant and Singletary agreed that both his Buffalo Police statement and his grand jury testimony were true and accurate.

On November 29, 2017, representatives of the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI again met with the defendant prior to his trial testimony scheduled for that day. Singletary again expressed reluctance to testify, but agreed to do so. The defendant told the government representatives that he had a problem testifying in front of Rodshaun Black’s mother because he had known her for a long time. Singletary then refused to review his grand jury testimony from December 6, 2011, and the statement he gave to Buffalo Police detectives on January 11, 2010, but said he was not worried because everything he had said previously was true.

On November 29, 2017, the prosecution called Singletary as a witness in United States v. Rodshaun Black and Ernest Green, et al., an official criminal trial proceeding in United States District Court for the Western District of New York. The defendant was sworn and then testified falsely and evasively. Specifically, Singletary: denied ever speaking to Rodshaun Black about the Jabril Harper murder; denied knowing Rodshaun Black’s mother; denied discussing his relationship with Rodshaun Black’s mother with an FBI agent and an AUSA earlier that day in preparation for his trial testimony; denied that he learned about Jabril Harper’s murder directly from Rodshaun Black; and testified that his prior statement to the Buffalo Police Department consisted of information he was told to say by the detectives who interviewed him.

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia; and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, under the direction of under the direction of Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci. 

Sentencing is scheduled for November 12, 2020, at 1:30 p.m. before Judge Geraci.

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Updated August 24, 2020