TONAWANDA, NY (WIVB) The Erie County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday that Michael Zuch, 59, has now died, three months after an assault which left him unconscious.
Now, District Attorney John Flynn says he will wait for the results to the autopsy to determine whether the death is considered to be homicide-related, and then he may consider more serious charges against Avery Hunter, 24, the man charged with the original assault. “I obviously am not going to allow my feelings of quite frankly disgust over assaulting a disabled man to influence my decision. Mr. Hunter is innocent of everything until proven guilty,” said Flynn.
It is alleged that on Sunday, August 4, 2019, at approximately 1:52 a.m., the victim was walking in the vicinity of Grove Place and Grove Street in the City of Tonawanda when he was confronted by the defendant. A brief verbal altercation allegedly ensued between the victim and the defendant who were not known to each other. After the two departed in opposite directions, the defendant, who was riding a bicycle, allegedly turned around and confronted the victim a second time. Hunter is accused of punching the victim in the face.
The victim fell to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk, which rendered him unconscious. He spent several weeks at ECMC to be treated for multiple serious injuries before being transferred to a rehabilitation center.
Hunter was charged by City of Tonawanda Police with one count of Assault in the Second Degree, a Class “D” felony. He was released on $2,500 cash bail posted on August 7, 2019 in City of Tonawanda Court.