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Murder trial to open in Buffalo NY mass shooting

By Neale Gulley

BUFFALO, New York (Reuters) - A former gang member accused of opening fire on a group to settle a dispute outside a downtown restaurant will stand trial this week in the murder of a newlywed groom and three other people.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the multiple murder trial of Riccardo McCray, charged with killing four people and injuring four others in the mass shooting last summer.

McCray faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

He has remained behind bars since surrendering at a local television news station 10 days after the early morning shooting at City Grill restaurant and bar on August 14. At the TV studio, McCray was interviewed and then arrested on camera.

Authorities said McCray became a prime suspect within hours of the shooting, though another man was initially arrested and released.

McCray's court-appointed attorney, Joseph Terranova, said his client denies the first-degree murder charges against him. Major discrepancies exist in the accounts by six or seven eyewitnesses who identified McCray as the shooter, he said.

"They all say something different," Terranova said.

McCray's previous lawyer had claimed a second gunman is visible in surveillance video that partially captured the violence.

On the grainy surveillance tape of the sidewalk outside City Grill, McCray allegedly follows a large party of revelers that had been kicked out by bouncers after a confrontation inside.

Authorities said that McCray was seen arguing with others on the sidewalk before shots were fired and the panicked crowd scattered to escape the gunfire.

"There were people crawling to their cars," Terranova said.

Among those killed was a newlywed groom whose bride cradled his blood-soaked body on the sidewalk and pleaded with him to survive the injuries.

One of the injured drove himself home before going to the hospital, where a bullet was later removed from his bladder.

Eight bullets were recovered, most of them from the bodies of those who were shot.

Jury selection is scheduled for Tuesday before Erie County Court Judge Sheila DiTullio.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Bohan)