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Long IslandCrime

Cops: Homeless man charged in death of another homeless man

A homeless man was arrested Tuesday and charged with assaulting another homeless man who authorities said was punched in the head earlier this month in Riverhead and later died, Suffolk County police said.

Daniel Hughes, 38, was arrested by homicide detectives and charged with second-degree assault in the death of Wayne Sapiane, 65, who was homeless but lived in Riverside. Police said Sapiane was struck in the head near West Main Street in Riverhead on Jan. 2. He was later taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where he died of his injuries on Jan. 5. Sapiane had told police he was hit in the head by an unknown male.

Gary Sapiane, a longtime radio personality at WLNG in Sag Harbor, said Tuesday night he’s “happy someone was arrested” in his brother’s case. He added, “We’ll see what happens when he goes to court.”

He had told Newsday his brother suffered “catastrophic brain damage” in the attack. Sapiane added his brother had been kept alive on a ventilator after surgeons were forced to remove part of his skull in an attempt to relieve pressure on his brain.

Hughes, who will be held overnight Tuesday at Suffolk’s 7th Precinct, is slated to be arraigned at Riverhead Town Court on Wednesday. It was unclear Tuesday night if he had an attorney.

Sapiane said unfortunately, he couldn't go to Hughes’ arraignment because he had a medical procedure, but he expected other family members to be there.

He has described his late brother as a great guitar player and excellent musician. Sapiane said people really liked his sibling. He had seen his brother recently and gotten a text from him the day before his attack wishing him a happy New Year. Sapiane said he was grateful he and his brother had communicated before his death.

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