Convicted parolee Malik Black’s murderous past

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GATES, N.Y. — News10NBC is learning new information about 47-year-old Malik Black. He’s the Rochester man arrested by Gates Police Tuesday for the murder of 47-year-old Jessica Romich.

Police say Black, a convicted murderer, was out on parole when they believe he killed his former employer.

Police say Malik Black has been in trouble with the law since his teenage years when he was known as Ernest Dunham. He changed his name to Malik Black while serving time in prison for killing a man when he was 17.

“It’s sad to see that their loved one is gone,” says Gates Police Chief Robert Long. “We did the best on our end to bring somebody to justice for them.”

It’s been a full day now since Gates Police and their partner agencies arrested 47-year-old Black for the shooting death of Romich. Long tells News10NBC Black was on parole at the time after serving more than 20 years in prison for murder and weapons possession. He went in as Ernest Dunham and was released as Malik Black in October 2020.

“We’re looking into whether or not this individual was released out of the state prison system during the time of Covid releases. There was a period of time where it was deemed necessary to stop the spread of covid to release the parole, or people to parole,” said Long.

Dunham was serving time for fatally shooting a man on Seward Street in October 1993. Newspaper reports from the time say he was accused of killing a man on Jefferson Avenue when he was just 15. He was acquitted in that case.

“Subsequently did time in the state, New York Prison System, and was paroled in 2020 to a lifetime parole sentence,” said Long.

Black started working at Everdry Waterproofing in Gates, which was co-owned by Jessica Romich. He did not stay on the job long.

“I don’t know exactly the amount of months without asking the company, but definitely know that he did spend enough time there. started to establish himself in the job,” said Chief Long.

Romich’s body was found outside her car on September 30. She was shot once in the head as she was leaving Everdry in the Pixley Industrial Parkway Business Center. Chief Long says Romich, a wife and mother of two, took care of her employees.

“Helped them out with car payments. Helped them out with getting apartments. We found this just talking to people that she really did care about. The people who worked hard and I think unfortunately that generosity got out and may have been a role in this,” said Long.

Police decline to comment on a motive and tell News10NBC no other arrests are anticipated. Meanwhile, Black remains in the Monroe County Jail without bail.