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Dr. Lewek pleads not guilty
Rochester, N.Y. --- A psychiatrist who faces criminal charges in connection with the death of a man who went missing in October plead not guilty in front of a judge Wednesday morning.
Nearly two dozen friends and family members of Matthew Straton, 31, whose body was found partially buried in the backyard of this doctors home were also in court to watch the proceeding.
Dr. William Lewek was arraigned on two criminal charges. Tampering with Physical Evidence is a charge that accuses him of moving Stratons body from the third floor of his Rowley Street home to the backyard where the body was discovered partially buried and resting under a lawn chair. Dr. Lewek is also accused of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd Degree because police claim to have found baggies of cocaine hidden inside a sneaker in his home.
Dr. Lewek does not face any charges specifically related to Stratons death.
The investigation is still ongoing, explained First Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford. Whether or not we can file additional charges in the future? That remains to be seen. We're still waiting on the final results from the autopsy.
Police claim that Dr. Lewek said he moved Stratons body on October 29, 2013, hours after friends and family last saw him. What is not publicly known at this time is how Straton died.
At this point that is the main question that is unanswered for us and we have to await the results of the autopsy, said A.D.A. Wolford. So at this point we continued forward with the charges that we knew we could go forward on.
The friends and family of Straton made their presence known in court Wednesday morning with plenty of hugs and tears as well as T-Shirts that showed Stratons photo and name. Courthouse deputies made everyone turn the T-Shirts inside-out for the few moments they were all in court.
"We're going to be here for every one of them, Stratons mom Kym said of the showing of support in court. I'm going to do whatever I can to make sure that Matt's name is kept out there and the circumstances of his death are going to hopefully be paid for.
Dr. Lewek refused to answer questions when he left court and his lawyer, Matthew Parrinello, said they had no comment at this time. Parrinello said that Dr. Lewek, a psychiatrist specializing in addiction counseling, has voluntarily decided not to see any more patients at this time given the pending charges. Parrinello said Dr. Lewek does still have his license to practice.
"I'd like to know what happened to my son and why he was such a coward and not to call 911, if he had nothing to do with Matt's death why did he take him out and try to bury him in his backyard and not try to help him? Matt's not here today to defend himself, I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of defending for my son, said Kym Straton. "I'm keeping my feelings buried in my backyard just like this man buried my son in (sic) the backyard.
"If you didn't do anything you would've came forward, added Amber Straton, Matthews sister. Especially with a poster of my brother right in front of his house, he did something to hide it and then cover it up with a lawn chair to hide it.
Lewek is due back in court on April 30th where lawyers will argue motions in this case.
He remains out on bail after posting a bond for $350,000 last month.