After being married for over 60 years, an 88-year-old husband faces attempted murder charges against his wife. Authorities say Martin Turkiewicz went to the Cheektowaga nursing home on Saturday and attacked his wife with a hammer. He struck her and then reported his behavior at the front desk.
Rita Turkiewicz, who is 86-years-old suffered severe head injuries and is being treated at Erie County Medical Center according to police. Her husband has been charged with second degree attempted murder and first degree assault.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office explained that Martin Turkiewicz assaulted his 86-year-old wife at the Garden Gate Health Care Facility on Union Road in Buffalo, New York.
The nursing home has said that the incident stemmed from a “domestic dispute,” but other information isn’t known at this time. Many people wonder what would drive a nearly 90-year-old man to such an action.
Sadly, attacks on elderly individuals isn’t an uncommon occurrence. To predators—and not just the two-legged kind—these elders often seem like easy targets.
Last year, 80-year-old Elsie Dabrowski went out to her chicken coop at dusk like she always did in New Hampshire. As she was bending down to cut some weeds, a bobcat attacked her and caused injuries that required nearly 60 stitches. According to reports, the animal pounced and bit her neck.
The former Marine told reporters that she couldn’t understand why the beast was attacking her. However, she beat it off with a sickle she had and with the help of her son’s dogs who heard it. Dabrowski’s son Gene killed the bobcat with his shotgun, and officials confirmed that the animal was rabid.
Her son explained that the bobcat had a “face full of porcupine quills,” and that he and his three children, along with Elsie, would have to undergo rabies treatment. The attack caused the state to issue a limited bobcat hunt to reduce the number of rabid animals in the area.
In another shocking incident on a Port Angeles bus, a 59-year-old man attacked another 80-year-old passenger. Surveillance cameras captured the heroic efforts of the Clallam Transit bus driver when she tried to stop the beating.
Riley Edge White kicked and punched the elderly woman but the driver stopped the bus and attempted to protect her. About 10 other people were on the bus watching the scene unfold, many had their cameras out filming it, but no one tried to intervene. The female bus driver opened the doors and everyone ran out, then she disabled the battery so that the man couldn’t hijack the bus.
However, the stories aren’t all bad. A few years ago, an 82-year-old man successfully defended his home from an invasion by 24-year-old Octavius Barnes. Barnes knocked on the door and then forced his way inside and demanded money. Bradley Harvell, of Liberty County, Florida grabbed his handgun and fired at Barnes. He killed him in self-defense and thankfully, one less predator is on the streets thanks to his quick action.
And although these incidents are shocking, they fit a logical pattern. Criminals attack older individuals because they seem weaker. Yet, the case of the Turkiewicz couple leaves lots of unanswered questions.
Why would a man, after 60 odd years of marriage, suddenly snap and hit his wife in the head with a hammer? Medical professionals know that Alzheimer’s often causes sufferers to react violently. A person can become paranoid and lash out at those who are just trying to take care of the patient.
At this time, no information has been released about Martin Turkiewicz, other than the fact that he has pleaded not guilty to the charges and that he is being held without bail in the Erie County Holding Center.
The case is being prosecuted by Homicide Bureau Chief Colleen Curtin Gable, the district attorney’s office told reporters. District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. also commended the work of Cheektowaga Police Lt. Kenneth Rusin, Detective Terance Griffin and Detective James Jenson who are working on the bizarre investigation. The nursing home has also issued a statement explaining that they are cooperating with authorities in the investigation.