Modified: January 29, 2020 2:33pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 24-year-old Avery Hunter of Buffalo has been arraigned before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case on an indictment charging him with one count of Assault in the Second Degree, a Class “D” felony.
It is alleged that on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at approximately 1:52 a.m., the victim was out for a walk in the vicinity of Grove Place and Grove Street in the City of Tonawanda when he was confronted by the defendant. The parties were not known to each, and a brief verbal altercation ensued. After the two men departed in opposite directions, the defendant turned around, confronted the victim a second time, and without provocation punched the victim in the face. A witness observed the events.
The victim fell to the ground and struck his head on the sidewalk. He spent several weeks at ECMC to be treated for multiple serious injuries before being transferred to a rehabilitation center.
The victim, 59-year-old Michael Zuch, died in November 2019. The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that his cause of death was related to an underlying medical condition, and the assault did not contribute to his death.
Hunter is scheduled to return on Friday, February 21, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. for a pre-trial conference He remains released on $2,500 cash bail posted on August 7, 2019 in City of Tonawanda Court.
If convicted of the charge, Hunter faces a maximum of 7 years in prison.
DA Flynn commends the City of Tonawanda Police Department for their work in the investigation, including Officers Bentley, Kirkwood, and Gallivan.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James M. Marra of the DA’s Felony Trials Bureau and Chief Colleen Curtin Gable 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.