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Superior attack leads to prison sentence

A homeless man who was the center of a police search in September will spend nine years in prison for attacking an elderly relative.

Larry J. Szewcik, 44, pleaded guilty Monday in Douglas County Circuit Court to first-degree recklessly endangering safety, false imprisonment and suffocation, all as a repeater. He was sentenced to consecutive sentences that totaled nine years of initial confinement and 10 years of extended supervision; he ordered to pay $518 in court costs. One count of aggravated battery to an elderly person was dismissed but read in for sentencing, and one count of criminal trespass to dwelling was dismissed.

According to the criminal complaint:

Szewcik pushed his way into the victim's Superior apartment the afternoon of Sept. 12 and asked to take a shower. The wheelchair-bound victim agreed but told Szewcik he would have to leave soon. After the shower, Szewcik came up behind the victim, placed a towel over her head and face, and tried to suffocate her. She yelled for him to stop and tried to fight him off. The towel fell off, and Szewcik grabbed her by the head, "twisting and putting pressure" on her neck and head. When he stopped, she fell to the floor. Szewcik told her to go to her room. Unable to get back into the wheelchair, she dragged herself into her room.

The victim told investigator Michelle Lear with the Superior Police Department that she thought Szewcik was trying to break her neck.

Szewcik remained at the apartment for about three more hours. He refused to take the victim to the hospital and left her lying on the bedroom floor. He told her he wanted to stay at the apartment until it got dark because he had taken his ankle bracelet off and didn't want to get caught.

The victim suffered facial fractures from the attack.