Tonawanda News

December 29, 2012

Man dies after beating

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The 86-year-old man who was brutally beaten by his roommate at a town senior living community died Thursday at Erie County Medical Center, according to police.

Lt. Nick Bado said an autopsy of Salvatore Trusello’s body was performed Friday morning to determine if his death was caused by the assault.

“Depending on those results, our detectives will meet with the district attorney to think about applying additional charges to the suspect like homicide or manslaughter,” Bado said. “If he died of pneumonia, maybe they can’t. We’ll see if they are going to move forward with something different.”

The suspect, Chester Rusek, 87, has already been charged with first-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

The assault took place the morning of Nov. 26 at around 9:30 a.m., when Trusello, formerly of Niagara Falls, was still in bed at the Kenwell De-Paul Senior Living Community. His roommate, 87-year-old Chester Rusek, allegedly used a handmade weapon to hit Trusello repeatedly in his head, chest and wrist.

Rusek allegedly used a 2 1/2 pound magnet from a speaker, attached to an 18 inch piece of string, as a weapon.

 “It was basically an impact weapon on a string,” Lt. Detective Joseph Carosi said.

After the assault, Rusek, with the assistance of a walker, shuffled down to the front desk and told an employee to call for medical help for Trusello, telling her, “I just beat his (expletive).”

Shortly thereafter, police arrived, and Trusello, in a semi-conscious state, was able to identify Rusek as his attacker. 

Carosi said Rusek fully cooperated with authorities and was prepared to be arrested.

Rusek was taken back to police headquarters, where officers interviewed him. Rusek admitted to the crime and provided a full statement to police, admitting he was angry with Trusello for allegedly stealing his records. 

He told officers, “I didn’t want to kill him, I just wanted to get even.”

He then appeared before a town judge, who sent him to the Erie County Holding Center for a psychiatric evaluation. 

According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, Rusek’s case will be presented to a grand jury.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150