New Yorker arraigned on homicide charge after argument over face mask


WEST SENECA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A West Seneca man was indicted Monday morning on a criminally negligent homicide charge, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. The arraignment before an Erie County Court Judge stems from an argument in a bar over a face mask which resulted in the death of 80-year-old Rocco Sapienza.

Allegedly on Saturday, September 26, 2020, 65-year-old Donald Lewinski and Sapienza argued inside Pamp’s Red Zone Bar and Grill. The DA’s office says the argument involved Lewinski not adhering to the face mask requirement while inside Pamp’s.

According to officials, Lewinski then pushed Sapienza, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the floor. He died from his injuries several days later at Erie County Medical Center.

Lewinski is due back on Wednesday, May 26, at 4 p.m. for a phone pre-trial conference.

DA John Flynn’s office says the judge set bail at $10,000 and continued previous release conditions set by a West Seneca Town Court Justice. It prohibits Lewinski from entering any bar or establishment that serves alcohol.

Officials say Lewinski faces up to four years in prison if convicted on all charges.

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