CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Cheektowaga landlord Thomas Szczesniak has been sentenced to indeterminant term of 5 to 15 years in prison.
Szczesniak was convicted of second degree manslaughter in July for the shooting death of his friend and tenant, Joseph Lawrence, last October.
Szczesniak had originally been indicted on a second degree murder charge after shooting and killing Lawrence in their shared driveway in Cheektowaga. But, during the bench trial, the judge agreed to also consider charges of first degree manslaughter or second degree manslaughter in this case, which angered Lawrence’s family members.
Authorities say Szczesniak and Lawrence had been drinking all day, and they say Szczesniak admitted to the EMTs who arrived on the scene that he had shot Lawrence. The prosecutors in the case contended that the men had an argument in the driveway and Szczesniak pulled out his gun and fired. But, Szczesniak’s lawyers say the shooting was accidental.