Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — The 87-year-old man accused of brutally beating his roommate at a Town of Tonawanda assisted living facility was brought into an Erie County Court room in a wheelchair Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing that centered on statements he allegedly gave to police after the incident.
Chester Rusek, who repeatedly attempted to speak out in court Tuesday, was initially charged with first-degree assault in the Nov. 26 beating of his roommate Salvatore Trusello, 86, at the Kenwell De-Paul Senior Living Community.
In January, the charge was upgraded to first-degree manslaughter after Trusello succumbed to his injuries Dec. 27. Rusek pleaded not guilty to the crime.
Rusek’s attorney, Barry Dolgoff, requested Tuesday’s pre-trial Huntley hearing to challenge whether Rusek’s statements to police were made voluntarily — in an attempt to get them barred from the impending trial.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Bonanno began the hearing by calling Town of Tonawanda police officer Mark Muscoreil to the witness stand.
“They directed me to room 112 where a male was bleeding and being attended to by paramedics,” Muscoreil, who was the first officer to report to the scene, said. “There was blood on the bed, blood on the floor and he was in extreme pain.”
Although Trusello was badly injured and not able to respond to many of Muscoreil’s inquiries, he did tell the officer that his roommate hit him with a metal object.
Muscoreil testified that he then located Rusek sitting in a chair outside the facility. As the officer approached, Rusek asked him where his patrol car was, and whether he was going to arrest him for what he had done.
“When I asked him what he had done, he said he had beat his (expletive) ass,” Muscoreil said.
When Muscoreil asked what Rusek had used in the attack, Rusek produced a speaker magnet the size of a hockey puck attacked to string.