Man arraigned on homicide charge after argument in bar over face mask

West Seneca

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.

Today’s arraignment before an Erie County Court Judge stems from an argument over a face mask that 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 on Southwestern Boulevard in the Town of West Seneca.

The DA’s office says the physical confrontation allegedly involved Lewinski not adhering to the face mask requirement while inside Pamp’s.

“He was walking around, allegedly, walking around without a mask on, and this apparently upset the victim,” said District Attorney John Flynn.

Flynn also says before the incident, the two men argued earlier in the evening.

“Apparently a couple hours before this alleged pushing took place, the two of them had words, apparently over a girl,” said Flynn.

According to officials, Lewinski then allegedly pushed Sapienza, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on the floor.

Sapienza died several days later at ECMC from his injuries.

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 tell News 4 Lewinski faces up to four years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Lewinski is due back in court for a pre-trial conference on May 26th.

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