BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A man long suspected in the death of Amanda Wienckowski has pleaded guilty to a laundry list of disturbing charges.
Antoine Garner, 26, pleaded guilty Wednesday to three counts of third degree rape and three counts of third degree criminal sexual act. Garner admitted that between December 2008 and January 2009, he repeatedly raped and sodomized a 16-year-old girl, which resulted in the girl becoming pregnant. He faces up to four years in prison for those crimes.
Garner also pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree robbery and two counts of second degree robbery. In July 2011, he orchestrated and led a home invasion in the Town of Clarence, stealing $70,000 in money and jewelry and terrorizing the resident while holding her at gunpoint. He faces up to 25 years for this crime.
In February, Garner was convicted of choking a prostitute inside a home on Jewett Avenue in Buffalo in July 2011. For second degree strangulation and third degree assault, Garner could face up to seven years in prison.
Though Garner has long been suspected in the death of Amanda Wienckowski, he has never been charged. Though the Erie County Medical Examiner's Office determined Wienckowski died of a drug overdose, subsequent autopsies by other examiner's and her family say she was strangled.
The family's attorney, Emily Trott, tells News 4 they are "pleased the D.A. has prosecuted [Garner]" for the other crimes, but that they are still "angry and frustrated that there has been no movement in Amanda's case."
Wienckowski's relatives are waiting for the day when her death will be ruled a homicide, instead of accidental, and they day when Garner will be charged. That day may never come.
"Nobody deserves what happened to Amanda. Nobody. I wait for that day, and I pray for that day," said Leslie Brill, Wienckowski's mother. "But thank God, again, he's behind bars and he can't hurt anyone else."
Wienckowski's naked body was found upside-down in a garbage tote, her hair shorn off, in January 2009. She had been missing for five weeks previously. The tote was right across the street from Garner's house. He is the last person known to have seen her alive.
Garner spoke publicly for the first time about Wienckowski's death in 2009. Back then, he told News 4 his message to her family: "I'm sorry for your loss, but I never hurt your daughter. And if she was around me, I would never have let anybody hurt your daughter. Nobody deserves to be discarded like that."
But Wienckowski's mother doesn't believe it.
"Antoine, please. Just tell me what you did to Amanda. Please," she pleaded. "I'd sleep, maybe, at night. I would just love to know what happened. I need to know."
"At least [then] I'll have a sense of... knowing that something was done for Amanda. That's what I need," Brill said. "She's an angel, and she deserves this."
Garner will be sentenced in May.
If he receives the maximum sentence for each crime, and does not serve the sentences concurrently, he could spend as long as 36 years in state prison.
If that happens, for Brill, "It's not long enough. He doesn't deserve to see daylight. Look what he's done to these two families, and victims, and my daughter."
"I'm here for [the other victims'] families, truly, if they need me, and their friends. I support them 100 percent," Brill said.
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