Tonawanda News

Breaking News

The Town

September 19, 2013

Rusek's mental state probed

Tonawanda News — BUFFALO — Chester Rusek, the 88-year-old man accused of brutally beating his roommate at a Town of Tonawanda assisted living facility, is competent to stand trial, Erie County psychiatrists determined after an evaluation. 

But in court Wednesday, defense attorney Barry Dolgoff disagreed with the doctors, arguing Rusek is not in a proper mental state to assist with the trial. As part of his argument, he cited statements that Rusek provided during the evaluation. 

“I don’t know why I’m here,” Rusek told the psychiatrists. “I don’t know what the charges are. No one told me.”

Rusek, who was brought into court in a wheelchair Wednesday, also told the psychiatrists he had spoken to two lawyers about the case, while Dolgoff insisted that he was the only one to speak to his client. 

“He doesn’t even remember me ... that doesn’t sound like a guy who knows what is going on,” Dolgoff said in court Wednesday. 

Dolgoff argued that the evaluation of Rusek, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree manslaughter, did not delve deep enough. 

“Competency is very loosely defined ... by these so-called experts,” he said.

Assistant District Attorney Paul Bonanno stood by the evaluation. 

“The defendant has been evaluated multiple times now and repeatedly found competent. We are ready for trial,” he said. 

But Erie County Court Judge Michael Pietruska granted Rusek the opportunity to obtain another evaluation by his own doctor. Rusek, who has recently been in the hospital, will be back in court Nov. 18 to review that assessment. 

Rusek was initially charged with first-degree assault after the alleged attack, which took place Nov. 26 at the Kenwell De-Paul Senior Living Community. The charge was upgraded to first-degree manslaughter after the victim, Salvatore Trusello, 86, died from his injuries a month later. 

Text Only
The Town
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
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: MH17 Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel Clinton: "AIDS-Free Generation Within Our Reach" Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball