Witnesses recall night of Patricia Wlasiuk's death

NORWICH – Wednesday, witnesses recalled the events of a cold April night six years ago that ended in the death of a local nurse and charges of murder being brought against her husband. On the second day of testimony in Chenango County Court, the prosecution in the Peter M. Wlasiuk murder trial called six witnesses who all played a role on the night of the alleged homicide.

District Attorney Joseph A. McBride called emergency medical technicians, an emergency room doctor and the local citizens who were the first to arrive on the crime scene, to give their version of events on the night Peter Wlasiuk’s wife Patricia, 35, died on April 3, 2002.

Peter Wlasiuk was arrested on April 8 that year, and that fall, a Chenango County jury convicted him of second degree murder. The New York State Appellate Division overturned that verdict on Aug. 31, 2006, saying “a litany of errors” effectively deprived the defendant of a fair trial.

Wlasiuk, 39, is again charged with second degree murder in the death of his wife. Prosecutors contend Wlasiuk killed his wife at their Oxford home and later staged a Guilford Lake truck accident to cover it up.

Three people were staying in a nearby lake house when they were suddenly awakened at about 12:30 a.m. by banging on the cabin walls and front door. Steven Schweichler and Thomas and Jessica Becker all testified Wednesday they heard no sounds of an accident or screaming before a “hysterical” Peter Wlasiuk came to their Guilford Lake cottage looking for help.

Thomas Becker, who is now a state trooper, said Wlasiuk demanded they call 911 and Patricia’s mother, Joyce Cardozo. Jessica Becker said she attempted to contact the mother while Thomas dialed 911. Defense attorney Randel Scharf played the recording of the 911 call several times in court in an attempt to show Wlasiuk’s hysterical voice in the background telling the Beckers he couldn’t get Patty out of the truck.

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