80-Year-Old Man Killed After Telling Another Man to Wear a Face Mask Inside New York Bar

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WEST SENECA, NY –  An 80-year-old man is dead after a face mask dispute turned deadly at Pamp’s Red Zone Bar and Grill on Southwestern Boulevard in West Seneca, New York.  Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced 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.   Charges have been filed after a September 26th altercation that led to the elderly man’s death.

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On Saturday, September 26, 2020, at approximately 7:45 p.m., Lewinski and the elderly man engaged in an argument at Pamp’s Red Zone. The argument allegedly involved the Lewinksi not adhering to the face mask requirement while inside the establishment. According to the police report, Lewinski allegedly pushed the victim, causing him to fall backward 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.

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“My client, I don’t know if remorse is the right word,” said Lewinski’s attorney Barry Covert in a satement. “They are so sympathetic to the victim and the victim’s family. Obviously their heart goes out to them they give them only their deepest sympathy.”

Lewinski’s release is contingent upon him not going to bars, staying away from Sapienza’s widow and not posting about the incident on social media, according to the judge.

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