BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Buffalo man accused of punching another man with disabilities in the City of Tonawanda in 2019 was found guilty of assault Friday.
The Erie County District Atorney's Office announced Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case found 25-year-old Avery Hunter guilty of one count of assault in the third degree, a class “A” misdemeanor.
"Judge Case rendered his verdict this afternoon after an hour of deliberations following a two-day bench trial that began on May 12 and concluded this morning, convicting the defendant of the lesser included offense. Hunter was indicted by a Grand Jury on one count of Assault in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony)," a release says.
The district attorney's office says in August of 2019 the victim, 59-year-old Michael Zuch who suffered from Huntington's Disease, was out for a walk in the area of Grove Place and Grove Street in the City of Tonawanda when he was confronted by Hunter. Zuch and Hunter did not know each other but a brief verbal altercation occurred and as they walked away from each other Hunter turned around and punched Zuch in the face.
Zuch 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. Zuch died in November 2019 and the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded that "he died due to an underlying medical condition and the assault did not contribute to his death."
Hunter is scheduled to be sentenced August 16, he faces a maximum of one year in jail. He remains released on $2,500 cash bail posted on August 7, 2019 in City of Tonawanda Court.