Despite testimony from a psychiatrist who said his former patient may have been in the throes of anesthesia and drug-induced delirium when he attacked Monongahela Valley Hospital workers and a state constable, a Washington County judge Thursday sentenced a Donora man to 17 1/2 to 34 years in prison.
Shaun D. Rosario, 35, was convicted by a jury in December of three counts of aggravated assault, four counts of simple assault, two counts each of terroristic threats, false imprisonment and unlawful restraint and one charge of assault by a prisoner.
Donora police said they found Rosario passed out on Sycamore Way May 9, 2011, and took him to Mon Valley Hospital in Carroll Township for treatment for an apparent drug overdose.
Township police said Rosario caused a scene in the critical care unit the following day, ripping off his clothes and pulling out tubes and monitoring equipment.
Police said he also grabbed a hospital employee and used her as a shield while keeping three staff members against their will inside the room.
After hospital security workers subdued Rosario, police said they called Constable Walter Fronzaglio to transport him to Washington County jail on a probation violation. Rosario was handcuffed and shackled to the floor in the back seat of the constable’s van when he somehow managed to free himself while they were traveling on Interstate 70 in Somerset Township.
State police said he grabbed Fronzaglio, who was 71 years old at the time, by the neck and trying to steal his .40-caliber Glock handgun. The van then flipped onto its side. Fronzaglio exited the vehicle and tried to pull out Rosario, who then stabbed him in the leg with an eight-inch knife Fronzaglio kept in a box between the van seats.
A trucker stopped and came to Fronzaglio’s defense, pinning Rosario to the ground until state police arrived.
Testifying via phone Thursday was Dr. Safdar Chaudhary of Export, Westmoreland County, who said Rosario was suicidal, had a significant history of drug and alcohol abuse and was suffering from depression.
While at Mon Valley Hospital, Rosario was breathing with the aid of a ventilator, and when the device was removed, he lashed out. Chaudhary said Propofol, a powerful sedative administered to Rosario, can cause agitation or aggression and impair function. He said Rosario was a candidate for a consultation with a psychiatrist, rather than being placed in the custody of law enforcement.
Rosario’s niece, Nicole Dempsey, said her uncle did not recognize his sister or his mother when they came to see him in the hospital while he was on the ventilator.
Despite Chaudhary’s assertion that Rosario expressed regret over the series of events, DiSalle noted that Rosario, in a pre-sentence report prepared by the adult probation office, “really blames everyone but himself” and calls himself a victim of the mental health system.
The defendant’s mother, Linda Rosario, said her son was despondent because he was denied visits with his young daughter by the child’s mother, Rosario’s ex-fianceé. She said her son is not an addict, and to demonstrate her son’s artistic talents, she showed the judge a portfolio of his artwork.
Shaun Rosario declined to speak in court, although he prepared and filed his own petition asking that the charges against him be dismissed because he was not sentenced within 90 days of his conviction.
Assistant District Attorney Jerome Moschetta said the circumstances were not grounds for dismissal because Rosario was given credit for time served in jail without prejudice while awaiting sentencing. He sought a long sentence because five people were victimized.
As DiSalle added up the consecutive sentences on multiple counts and pronounced the total, Linda Rosario gasped, “What?” and left the courtroom sobbing as family members and the defendant’s ex-girlfriend, Mandy Teagarden, attempted to console her.
The sentence included $2,500 restitution to Fronzaglio, who missed a month’s work due to the injuries he suffered.
When the latest round of charges were filed, Rosario was on probation in Washington County for drug possession and substituting drug-free urine during mandated testing. In Westmoreland County, he was on probation for a firearms offense and escaping from Fronzaglio.
Rosario’s attorney, Thomas Agrafiotis, had no comment after the proceeding.