Jury seated for Donora man’s trial in bizarre string of crimes

December 3, 2013
Shaun D. Rosario

A Donora man’s trial has been scheduled to begin next week in Washington County Court in a bizarre string of 2011 crimes, including one in which he was charged with assaulting and attempting to escape from a state constable escorting him to jail on a probation violation.

The jury was seated Monday in the trial for Shaun D. Rosario before Judge John F. DiSalle, who scheduled opening arguments to be heard Dec. 11.

DiSalle on Nov. 27 refused to allow Rosario, 34, to present an insanity defense over his claims the drugs Mon Valley Hospital gave him May 10, 2011, to counteract a drug overdose left him with no memory of the events that led to his arrest that day. DiSalle ruled his request for a “diminished capacity or voluntary intoxication defense” did not meet the court standards in such cases, court records show.

The bizarre chain of events began the previous morning when Donora police received a complaint someone had ripped off the glove compartment door in a borough truck and stolen a hammer that had been stored there.

Borough police said they received a call later that day about a man passed out on Sycamore Way, only to identify that man as Rosario. Police allege he had the stolen hammer and fresh needle marks in his arm, leading them to have him transported to Mon Valley Hospital in Carroll Township to be treated for a drug overdose.

Carroll police said Rosario caused a scene in the third-floor critical care unit, ripping off his clothes and the tubes and monitoring equipment the staff had placed on or inserted into his body, court records show.

They further accused him of grabbing hospital employee Carol May from behind to use her as shield against security. He kept three staff members in the room against their will, police allege, by blocking the door with chairs and threatening them with a syringe he was swinging.

At one point, Carroll police said, Rosario squirted his blood from a intravenous tube still attached to his arm at the employees before security subdued him.

Carroll police then called Constable Walter “Patsy” Fronzaglio to transport Rosario to Washington County Jail on a probation violation, a route that took them along Interstate 70 west into Somerset Township.

Rosario had been handcuffed and shackled to the floor in the back seat of the constable’s van when he somehow managed to free himself about 2:45 a.m.

State police accused him of grabbing Fronzaglio, who was 71 years old at the time, by the neck and trying to steal the man’s .40-caliber Glock handgun.

The van then flipped onto its side and slid along the berm of the highway. Fronzaglio exited the vehicle and tried to pull out Rosario, who then stabbed him in the leg with Fronzaglio’s 8-inch knife he kept stored in a box between the van seats, police claim.

A trucker, Lawrence Prenni, stopped and came to Fronzaglio’s defense, pinning Rosario to the ground until state police arrived. Police also found a pistol magazine for Fronzaglio’s weapon in one of Rosario’s pants pockets after they took him to the barracks.

It wasn’t the first time Rosario escaped from the Fronzaglio, the prosecution claims in recently filed court documents in the case.

Fronzaglio had Rosario shackled and handcuffed to a waistband strap when he stopped his vehicle at a service station for gasoline May 14, 2009, off I-70 in North Belle Vernon.

The record claims Rosario fled on foot while Fronzaglio was inside the station paying for the gas. Rosario was later captured in Fayette County still in shackles and handcuffs, the record alleges.

The three criminal cases were consolidated for his trial on charges of assault by a prisoner, aggravated assault, resisting arrest, escape, simple assault, theft, receiving stolen property, criminal mischief, public drunkenness, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, harassment and disorderly conduct.

He remains in Washington County jail on $750,000 bond.

His attorney, Thomas Agrafiotis of Charleroi, declined to comment, citing instructions DiSalle gave the jury, asking them not to discuss the case.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

View More from this Author



blog comments powered by Disqus