Argument Over Wearing a Face Mask Inside West Seneca Bar Results in Criminally Negligent Homicide Arrest

Modified: October 7, 2020 8:36am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 65-year-old Donald M. Lewinski of West Seneca has been arraigned before West Seneca Town Justice Shannon E. Filbert on one count of Criminally Negligent Homicide, a Class “E” felony.

It is alleged that on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at approximately 7:45 p.m., the defendant and an elderly man engaged in an argument at a bar on Southwestern Boulevard in the Town of West Seneca. The argument allegedly involved the defendant not adhering to the face mask requirement while inside the establishment. The defendant allegedly pushed the victim, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the floor.

The victim, 80-year-old Rocco E. Sapienza of West Seneca, was taken to ECMC where he died from his injuries several days later. His cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Lewinski is scheduled to return on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. He was released on his own recognizance with conditions set by Justice Filbert.

If convicted on all charges, Lewinski faces up to four years in prison.

DA Flynn commends Detectives Duane Wisniewski and James Kocieniewski of the West Seneca Police Department for their work in the investigation 

The case is being prosecuted by Chief Gary W. Hackbush of the DA’s Homicide Bureau.

As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.