Calls for upgraded charges in man's death

Keith Satriana, 45, was felled by the punch Keith Satriana, 45, was felled by the punch and hit his head on the pavement, records show. Photo Credit: handout

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Family and friends of a former Levittown firefighter killed in a bar fight in October -- and whose death was ruled a homicide -- are calling on the Nassau district attorney's office to file more serious charges against his alleged attacker.

So far, prosecutors have charged Robert Roll, 30, with third-degree assault -- a misdemeanor -- for allegedly punching Keith Satriana in the head outside Shooters Tiki & Sports Bar in Wantagh at 4:30 a.m. Oct. 27, court records show. Satriana, 45, was felled by the punch and hit his head on the pavement, the records show.

He lapsed into a coma and died 17 days later at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow as a result of brain injuries "sustained in the fight," according to the records.

Satriana's death was the only 2012 homicide investigated by Nassau or Suffolk police in which at least one person was arrested but no murder or manslaughter charges were filed, records show.

Records referencing the homicide -- which authorities had not previously disclosed -- were obtained by Newsday from the Nassau County Police Department.

"He deserves justice just like any other victim of a homicide," said Satriana's longtime friend Jack DiPietro of Levittown. "Keith would still be alive if he hadn't been assaulted. There has to be a greater price to pay."

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Prosecutors say they have not closed the door on upgrading charges against Roll.

"No final determination has been made as yet to the charges because the investigation is ongoing," the office said.

According to records and two law-enforcement sources with knowledge of the case, Roll left the bar after the assault and was not arrested until a month later, on Nov. 27. The Baldwin resident was released the same day on $2,000 cash bail, records show.

The delay in arresting Roll was partially a result of multiple witnesses at the bar initially telling police there was no fight -- and that Satriana had simply fallen and hit his head, the sources said.

Later, several witnesses changed their stories, telling investigators Satriana had instigated a fight with Roll inside the bar before the younger man punched him outside, the sources said.

At least one witness also claimed Roll had repeatedly kicked Satriana in the head after he fell, the sources said.

As part of their probe, investigators are reviewing enhanced video surveillance from the bar, a third law-enforcement source said.

Roll's lawyer, Phil Solages of Hauppauge, said he could not discuss the case in detail because the investigation is ongoing.

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"My client Robert Roll maintains his innocence in this unfortunate situation," Solages said.

Roll could not be reached for comment.

Satriana's ex-wife says the incident outside Shooters left her to raise their young son and daughter -- and she believes a manslaughter or murder charge is justified in the case.

"It's not fair that he's charged with assault when my kids are left without their father," said the North Bellmore woman, who asked that her name not be used because she fears for her safety. "People need to tell the whole truth about what happened that night. Keith deserves justice."

Don Epple, second deputy chief of the Levittown Fire Department, said Satriana volunteered with the department for at least 10 years. "He was a great guy who was always there for you," Epple said.

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Fred Klein, a law professor at Hofstra University and former chief of the major offense bureau in the Nassau district attorney's office, said it would be difficult for prosecutors to justify a manslaughter or murder case based on the current evidence laid out in court papers.

But if witness statements or surveillance video suggest Roll did more than punch Satriana, upgraded charges could be warranted, he said. "That would change the situation," Klein said.

If convicted of third-degree assault, Roll would face a maximum of three years probation or one year in jail.

Roll has been convicted on two counts of criminal mischief and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, court records show.