Commentary on Jeff Basil…..

Basil (Center in the red tie) is flanked by his defense team, Joel Daniels is to his left. – Photo via the Buffalo News

Yesterday’s news that Jeffrey Basil had been found guilty of 2nd degree murder and evidence tampering charges left many in Buffalo feeling that justice had been served. If you don’t know to what I’m referring, then let me give you a little background:

Earlier this past year, after an argument between Basil and Airman William Sager at the now defunct Molly’s pub on Main Street, it was reported that Basil had shoved Sager down a flight of stairs, leading to a prolonged hospital stay in a coma and his eventual death. Reports of malfeasance led to two Buffalo Police officers being suspended. One or both are also facing possible criminal and civil charges and the possibility they’ll lose their jobs as police officers.

Basil was found guilty of murder on January 21st and will be sentenced on February 23rd. The police officers — Adam O’Shei, and Robert Eloff — are still suspended pending the results of the Buffalo Police Department investigation and the Internal Affairs Division.

That being said, I would like to point out that I graduated with Jeff Basil from Maryvale High School in 1997. While we graduated together, we certainly were not close friends, nor did we have much contact at all outside of passing one another in the halls of our school. There have been reports of issues with Jeff’s behavior while in school, and while I cannot testify that he threatened other students or tried to throw one out of a window as has been suggested, I can say that Jeff was not a very likeable person back then. We simply did not hang in the same crowds. This is not an indictment of him, and I don’t want people to think that I’m writing this as something to get Jeff back for treating me poorly in high school. The fact is that Jeff and I had few, if any, words to one another, and after High School we probably ran into one another twice — at a bar, oddly enough. What strikes me now is how many people are saying how mean he could be, and this I can say I did witness.

I wouldn’t say Jeff was a hot head so much back then as he could be rude and demeaning, especially to girls that he would needle incessantly. He was arrogant, that much is sure, but not to everyone in our school. He had his clique as everyone in High School does. He also had a reputation as someone who adults would think was a “stand up guy” –  whether or not that makes him a “suck up” or brown-noser is really anyone’s guess. All I can say is Jeff wasn’t constantly in trouble at Maryvale, but many of my classmates weren’t buying him as a stand up guy.

The word that comes to mind now would be “bully,” and, in all honesty, it makes more sense. Jeff has had run-ins with the police multiple times since graduation, which includes convictions for harassment, disorderly conduct, driving while impaired, criminal contempt and drug possession. Some of the convictions involved criminal acts at bars. It was even stated that Jeff could have no financial ties or own a bar, which means he was obviously also in violation of that ruling at the time of the Sager incident. If something had been done earlier about Jeff’s behavior, maybe this incident would never have happened…

Along with many of my classmates, and most of Western New York, I felt justice was served to Jeffrey in the conviction of the murder of William Sager. While Jeff sat remorseless throughout the trial, his defense attorney Joel Daniels tried unsuccessfully to claim that “Nothing good happens at a bar at 1AM,” and that this was an argument between his client and William Sager that got out of hand. Evidence suggests the only thing that got out of hand was Jeff when he used two of them to shove Sager down that flight of stairs and then demanded the officers arrest Sager for assaulting him. If you’ve never been to Molly’s Pub, the aforementioned stairs are a serious drop off, and in my bar-going days, were tricky even then to manage if you had a few too many. The thought of even being shoved down them makes my stomach turn as well as the subsequent sound of colliding with them head first!

The tragedy here is not Jeffrey Basil; it’s that William Sager will never walk in the door to see his parents, fiance, or the son that Jeff left fatherless. Like it or not, Jeff was arrested, tried, and convicted by a jury of his peers for murder. There will no doubt be an appeal, I’m sure; and Jeff’s fate may still hang in the balance for some time to come. But this much is certain, he will never again wield the type of power he once had in Buffalo. Even if it was in his own mind.

– Craig Wheeler, Maryvale High School Class of 1997


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10 Comments on “Commentary on Jeff Basil…..”

  1. Anonymous January 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    Whats the point of this?

    • Craig Wheeler January 22, 2015 at 4:39 pm #

      It’s a simple commentary on the trial of Jeffrey Basil. Our writer felt strongly about the outcome, and asked to write the commentary.

  2. Latoya Jones January 22, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    you made this article about you. Maybe you should get some therapy?

  3. Anonymous January 23, 2015 at 12:55 am #

    There was just no need for this article.
    It’s over. What some people will do for attention. Very sad.

  4. Anonymous January 23, 2015 at 12:57 am #

    There was no need to write this. It is over. It is a sad story. However, this individual writes about nothing he personally experienced. It’s very sad how some people will seek attention even in a tragedy.

  5. Anonymous January 25, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    The article was great and needed to be written. It stayed as neutral as possible. If I would have written it, It could have never been published. Maybe early intervention in Jeff’s life would have steered him towards CEO (albeit crooked) or some other job where his type of personality would have helped him thrive and he never would have been in that particular bar that night.

  6. Anonymous January 30, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Jeff is a scumbag prick fuck and deserves to rot in jail. I’ve had firsthand experience with him. And this guy can write about whatever the fuck he feels like writing about because that’s his right and if you don’t like it, eat a dick and go sign in at the prison visitor’s entrance.

  7. Debi H. February 3, 2015 at 2:17 am #

    This person just stated what jeff was in school, a bully. It was a bully who killed a young man who served his country , and protected it. Who protected him the night he was shoved down a flight of stairs. Jeff deserves to be in jail, and those to cops who swore to protect should be in a cell right next to him .

  8. Craig Wheeler February 5, 2015 at 11:40 am #

    Reblogged this on Western New York Living and commented:

    I had to get this off my chest, and writing is the only way I know how!


  1. Basil Guilty Of Manslaughter | What's Going On In Buffalo? Find Out! - June 9, 2015

    […] can’t hope but wonder if Jeff will learn from this, and try to be a better person? I wrote an editorial which led to some interesting comments. Many have felt that he had a “better than thou” attitude that hadn’t changed much […]

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