88-year-old who attacked wife with hammer pleads guilty to reduced charge

Nov 3, 2017

An elderly Cheektowaga man pleaded guilty Thursday to a hammer attack on his wife of 65 years.

Martin Turkiewicz, 88, pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to second-degree assault in connection with the September 9 attack on his wife, who suffers from dementia and resides in a Cheektowaga nursing facility. Turkiewicz admitted to striking Rita Turkiewicz, 87, in the head several times with a hammer, causing serious injuries.

"This is obviously one of the most difficult cases that I've had in my 10 months here," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told the media after the plea. "Not only was he caring for her and she's suffering from mental dementia aspect of it, but she's also suffering physically from the pain from her falls and, obviously, he couldn't take it anymore. But I have a responsibility to society. I can't allow it to happen."

Turkiewicz originally was charged with assault and attempted murder. Bail was set at $10,000.

Turkiewicz faces up to seven years in state prison when sentenced on February 8. He must also obey an order of protection, barring any contact with his wife except for third-party supervision on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.