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Robert Waters' neighbor tells judge he heard screaming that ended in woman's beating death

Opening statements began Dec. 3, 2014, in the

Opening statements began Dec. 3, 2014, in the bench trial of Robert Waters, 24, of Centereach, who is charged in the June 2011 death of Florence Troiani, his fiancee's grandmother. He is charged with second-degree murder. Credit: Suffolk County Sheriff

A neighbor told a Suffolk judge that from across the street he heard the screaming that ended up with a 90-year-old woman being beaten to death by her granddaughter's fiance.

Kenneth Quigley testified Thursday at the nonjury trial of his Centereach neighbor, Robert Waters, 24, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Florence Troiani. His defense doesn't contest that he did it but argues he's not responsible because it was the result of a violent seizure brought on by withdrawal from the anti-anxiety medicine Xanax.

During questioning by Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock, Quigley said he first heard typical "husband-wife bickering" between Waters and Denise Razzano on the night of June 21, 2011. But later there was more yelling, breaking glass and he saw Florence Troiani's walker come flying out the front door.

Quigley said he got along with Waters. During questioning by defense attorney Anthony La Pinta, he said Waters had never mentioned or complained about Troiani.

Suffolk Police Officer David Belli said he asked Waters what happened when he arrived.

"I don't remember what happened," an agitated Waters replied, according to Belli. Waters told him he'd just had a seizure. "Is she OK? Is she OK?" Waters asked.

Belli, also an emergency medical technician, said he had helped about 20 other seizure victims, and unlike Waters, they all were confused, drained of energy and still.

Later, state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho viewed photos and a video that showed tremendous destruction inside the house. The living room had glass on the floor from a smashed window and a dented box fan with blood on it. The master bedroom, used by Waters and Denise Razzano, was covered in debris, including at least $180 in cash. The door had a hole punched in it.

But the destruction was greatest in Florence Troiani's room. There were large bloodstains on the wall, her bedspread and the floor, and a spray of blood drops covered part of a second wall.

As Det. John Kellman narrated the images, Waters looked at the defense table, avoiding looking at the screen.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Robert Waters' fiancee.

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