Democrat & Chronicle
Rochester psychiatrist will go to trial Feb. 23
By Jon Hand
November 6, 2014
The Rochester psychiatrist accused of burying a dead man in his backyard will go to trial Feb. 23, a judge ordered Thursday.
Monroe County Court Judge Christopher S. Ciaccio also placed additional travel restrictions on Dr. William Lewek, ordering that Lewek can not leave Monroe County — aside from travel for medical care in Erie County and to visit family in Oneida County — unless he obtains court approval.
The travel restrictions were ordered at the request of First Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford, who told Ciaccio that Lewek’s past actions gave her concern that he was a flight risk.
Lewek had been hospitalized after a bizarre incident in September in which he drove his car down an embankment and walked into the Niagara River in Erie County. He was rescued from there.
Wolford said Lewek’s traveling along the Canadian border, combined with his substantial financial resources gave her concern he may try to leave the country.
Lewek’s lawyer, Matthew Parrinello, said the restrictions were “totally unnecessary” and that the accident in the Niagara river was only that, an accident. Lewek is free on $250,000 bail. Prior to his trial, motions will be argued in the case on Nov. 19 and a Huntley hearing to argue the admissibility of statements Lewek allegedly made to police will be held Jan. 7.
Lewek is accused of burying the body of Matthew Straton in his backyard of his city home in October 2013. Lewek is accused of tampering with evidence — the allegation that he tried to hide Straton’s body — and possession of crack cocaine in his home. Lewek allegedly told police that Straton died in his home.
Wolford told Ciaccio Thursday that an autopsy has been completed and prosecutors will not be superseding the current indictment with a new one charging Lewek with additional crimes.
Straton was reported missing in October 2013, shortly after he disappeared. His body was discovered behind Lewek’s home on Rowley Street in January.
Straton’s mother, Kym Straton, was joined by a dozen family members and friends in court Thursday. She said she is relieved a trial date has been set and things are moving forward.