Police describe scene of fatal beating

advertisement | advertise on newsday

A dazed and distraught Centereach man told police he had no idea what had just happened after they arrived at his home and found a 90-year-old woman beaten and stomped so badly her spine was snapped in two places, Suffolk police testified Wednesday at a pretrial hearing.

Police Officer David Belli testified he went to the house where Robert Waters, 22, his fiancee, and Florence Troiani, his fiancee's grandmother, lived to answer a call about a man having a violent seizure on June 21, 2011.

"Is she OK? Is she OK?" Waters asked, according to Belli.

In addition to her spine, Suffolk prosecutors said Waters also broke Troiani's nose, shoulder blade, jaw and most of her ribs, and tore a hole in her heart.

"This is a tragedy of monumental proportion," defense attorney Anthony La Pinta of Hauppauge said. "They always shared a close relationship. We look forward to the truth coming out at trial."

La Pinta suggested during questioning that Waters caused the death unintentionally while having a seizure.

But during questioning by Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, Det. Thomas Walsh testified that Waters told him, while he had no problems with Troiani, whom he called "Grandma," she had pills she didn't take that he could use, such as the painkiller Percocet.

The purpose of Wednesday's hearing before State Supreme Court Justice William Condon was to determine if Waters' statements to police will be admissible at his trial on a charge of second-degree murder.

Walsh said Waters told him he remembered watching "Law & Order" on TV, and the next thing he recalled was being in an ambulance.

Waters said he had been taking anti-seizure medication and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax, but he was edgy without it and hadn't had any in three days, Walsh testified. Later, Walsh said he overheard Waters tell a doctor the seizure was caused by a video game he'd been playing.

You also may be interested in: