One of Buffalo's most popular and famous residents was killed earlier this year and the person responsible for setting off the chain reaction that led to her death recently has his day in court, and will now be spending several years behind bars.

Who Is Claire?

Claire Melendez, who sometimes goes by Clara Gomez, or just Claire was a staple in several neighborhoods throughout Buffalo and Western New York.

Shady Records / Interscope / Griselda
Shady Records / Interscope / Griselda

She was most often found asking people for money while being on the streets.

Everybody in the whole city knows Claire, She’s like the Buffalo mascot, man.
-Westside Gunn

It’s been reported several times that contrary to popular belief, that she wasn’t homeless and destitute, but was financially stable but suffered from mental health issues.

She came back to the church and apologized then Sat in my office and told me her story. She wasnt homeless... She wasnt a vagrant... She was a trust baby with a mental illness that made unwise & unhealthy choices. A few weeks later after that meeting she came to the church with her father for our play. Introduced me to him and paid for tickets to enjoy time with her father & the play.
-Pastor John Young

What Happened To Claire?

In the late night hours of Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Claire was struck by a car while standing near the corner of Main Street and West Utica in the City of Buffalo.

The Person Accused To Be Responsible For Her Death Pleads Guilty

On Friday, August 4, 2023, Marlon D. Servance, Jr., a 22-year-old Buffalo man appeared in New York State Supreme Court and pled guilty to 1 count of Manslaughter in the 2nd degree and 1 count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 2nd degree.

During his appearance, Servance, admitted to shooting multiple bullets from an illegally obtained gun at another car while near Jefferson Ave. & Best St. During the chase and shootout, which extended down to Main St, he drove recklessly until the chase ended at the Utica Metrorail Station with Clara being hit by the vehicle being chased and shot at.

Servance is due back in court on October 23, 2023, where he faces a maximum prison term of 15 years.

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