88-year-old man charged with trying to kill his wife

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — An 88-year-old Cheektowaga man pleaded ‘not guilty’ to Assault in the First Degree and Attempted Murder in the Second Degree for an attack on his wife of nearly 60 years.

Cheektowaga Police say Martin Turkiewicz struck his wife, 86-year-old Rita Turkiewicz in the head with a claw hammer ‘multiple times’ Saturday night at the Garden Gate Healthcare Facility.

Rita Turkiewicz is in serious condition at ECMC. Police say she sustained head trauma during the alleged attack. According to court documents, she suffered a skull fracture and a brain bleed.

According to authorities, Rita was in and out of the facility for rehabilitation; Martin often visited multiple times a day.

Assistant Police Chief James Speyer says police believe Martin Turkiewicz brought the hammer into the facility Saturday.

Speyer tells News 4 the 88-year-old informed staff of what had occurred, and when they saw Rita’s injuries, Garden Gate staff contacted police.

A motive for the alleged attack is still under investigation.

Martin Turkiewicz surrendered himself to police following the inicident, and was arrested. He remains at the Erie County Holding Center.

Police say both Martin and Rita appeared to be of sound mind and able to speak with the police.

Rita, who remains in serious condition at ECMC, is speaking with authorities about the incident.

“The real challenge is with the family. This is a very upsetting thing for the officers that responded, the people that work there, and obviously the family that’s affected by this. It’s very sad, it’s very tragic,” says Assistant Chief Speyer.

The investigation itself, Speyer says, is pretty straightforward; it’s the reason behind this alleged attack which is challenging, he tells News 4.

Turkiewicz will return to Cheektowaga Town Court Wednesday morning.

The couple has adult children. News 4 reached out to the family, who did not want to comment at this time.

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