Tonawanda News

Local News

February 19, 2014

Elderly suspect appears in court

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Chester Rusek, the 88-year-old man accused of killing his nursing home roommate in the Town of Tonawanda, appeared in Erie County Court Tuesday morning for a brief discussion concerning his mental state at the time of the alleged crime.

Prosecutor Paul Bonanno said that the court was set to receive subpoenaed records from the Kenwell De-Paul Senior Living Community. Attorneys and Judge Michael Pietruska will then review the documents and report back on April 1.

“We will then determine if we need to hear from your experts on what should or shouldn’t be used to evaluate his mental state at the time of the incident,” Pietruska said.

Rusek, who was brought into court in a wheelchair Tuesday, allegedly attacked Salvatore Trusello, 86, on the morning of Nov. 26, 2012 at the Kenwell De-Paul Senior Living Community. A month later, Trusello died, and Rusek’s first-degree assault charge was upgraded to first-degree manslaughter.  

Tuesday’s appearance comes after Rusek’s attorney, Barry Dolgoff, argued his client’s recent dementia diagnosis should be entered as evidence in the trial. 

In September, Erie County Court doctors evaluated Rusek and declared him competent to stand trial. At Dolgoff’s request, the defendant was subsequently evaluated by his own doctor, who agreed with the first findings. As a result, Dolgoff dropped his challenge concerning Rusek’s ability to assist in his own defense.

But the doctor diagnosed Rusek with frontotemporal dementia, which is characterized by a shrinking of brain lobes and is associated with symptoms such as inappropriate actions, lack of judgment and empathy, compulsiveness and behavioral changes.

“This not only impaired his judgment but prohibited him from checking or inhibiting his behavioral actions,” Dolgoff argued during a hearing in November. 

Bonanno has objected to the admissibility of the evidence, and said defense attorneys are required to submit their intent to present such information within 30 days of the arraignment.

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament