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West Seneca man charged with criminally negligent homicide after dispute over face mask

Posted at 1:41 PM, May 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-10 13:51:50-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A West Seneca man was arraigned Monday on an indictment charging him with one count of criminally negligent homicide following a dispute over a face mask in September 2020.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office says on September 26, 2020 65-year-old Donald M. Lewinski allegedly got into an argument with 80-year-old Rocco E. Sapienza of West Seneca at at bar on Southwestern Boulevard in the Town of West Seneca. The argument was allegedly due to Lewinski not adhering to the face mask requirement.

According to the district attorney's office Lewinski allegedly pushed Sapienza during the argument causing him to fall back and hit his head on the floor. Sapienza was taken to ECMC where he died from his injuries several days later. The DA's office says his cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Lewinski is set to return to court May 26, his bail was set at $10,000 and the judge continued previous release conditions set that prohibits him from entering any bar or establishment that serves alcohol. He faces up to four years in prison if convicted on the criminally negligent homicide charge, he previously pleaded not guilty.