Man who drugged elderly father sentenced to four years in prison

The Amsterdam man who fed his elderly father prescription drugs hidden in applesauce, in a misguided

The Amsterdam man who fed his elderly father prescription drugs hidden in applesauce, in a misguided strategy to get him hospitalized, was sentenced Monday in Montgomery County Court to four years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

James Wojcicki, 64, of Smith Avenue was sentenced by Judge Felix J. Catena on the basis of his May 11 guilty plea to second-degree assault.

The incident occurred Sept. 23 in Amsterdam.

District Attorney James E. “Jed” Conboy said Wojcicki apparently was unhappy with physicians at St. Mary’s Hospital who twice failed to admit the victim for treatment after emergency room visits.

Wojcicki decided to grind up prescription medicine and hide it in the applesauce in an attempt to create symptoms warranting a hospital admission, Conboy said.

John Wojcicki was admitted after the incident, but the medication did not seriously affect him, officials said.

The elder Wojcicki, 93, died a month later while residing at the Wilkinson Residential Healthcare Facility. Officials said the poisoning did not cause the death.

In another case Monday, William T. Smith, 45, of North Market Street in Johnstown was sentenced to nine years in prison — as a second, violent felony offender — for his role in a masked home invasion Jan. 12 on Brookside Avenue in Amsterdam.

He pleaded guilty May 17 to second-degree burglary.

Smith was also ordered to pay restitution of $3,615 to the elderly couple he and his co-defendant, Scott Zabawczuk, 37, of Beaver Street, Gloversville, targeted.

Conboy said Zabawczuk once worked for the victims performing odd jobs, including moving a floor safe from the garage to the house. Zabawczuk was given the combination to the safe so he could remove the door, making it easier to move, Conboy said.

Smith and Zabawczuk wore ski masks during the robbery and were not recognized.

But, Conboy said, among the items taken was a credit card the victims had never used. The defendants used it that night to purchase gasoline at the Hessmart on Brandywine Avenue in Schenectady, a business with video surveillance, he said. Investigators were able to identify the suspects from the video tape.

Conboy said the defendants also tried but failed to use the card to make a withdrawal at an ATM.

When they were apprehended, Conboy said, they were driving a Jeep observed near the scene of the crime, and two ski masks were found inside the vehicle. He said sneaker imprints were found in the snow at the crime scene and both suspects were still wearing the sneakers.

The suspects were indicted in March on counts of second-degree burglary, fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree robbery.

The case is pending against Zabawczuk.

Categories: Schenectady County

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