Ronald Stolarczyk was in his kitchen when he heard people talking from what seemed to be inside his attached garage, Stolarcyk’s lawyer told Syracuse.com | The Post Standard Wednesday.
At first, the 64-year-old Oneida County man remained quiet to see if they would go away, said his lawyer, Mark Wolber. But then the homeowner heard them climbing up the stairs from the garage to his kitchen, the lawyer said.
Stolarczyk went around the door to the garage and yelled at them to stop, but one of the two – he thinks the female – kept coming at him, Wolber said.
“He said he was scared to death and thought he was going to die,” Wolber said. “Yesterday he was minding his own business in his kitchen, and today he’s in jail.”
Stolarczyk’s home had been broken into some time ago, and he’d also read about a case where a homeowner was killed by intruders in Appalachia, Wolber said.
On Tuesday, Stolarczyk picked up the handgun that was on the kitchen counter and fired three to four shots at the intruders, Wolber said. The two fell down the stairs to the bottom, he said.
Stolarczyk went down the stairs and saw one lying on the ground, and the other person had run out, Wolber said. He then called 911, he said.
The two intruders he shot and killed have been identified as Patricia Anne Talerico, 57, and Nicholas A. Talerico, 27, of Utica, according to New York State Police. The aunt and nephew were burglarizing the home at 6110 Walker Road in Deerfield when they were shot by the homeowner, police said.
Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara has said it appears the two intruders were unarmed. Wolber said his client didn’t know that they were unarmed or didn’t have time to notice.
Police and the DA have said they don’t know why the two people targeted the home.
Stolarczyk had a cell phone that had no regular service but was able to call 911, his lawyer said. He then went down to the driveway, Wolber said.
A police officer responding to the call found Stolarczyk at the end of the driveway, according to a felony complaint filed in Utica City Court. The officer said he told the man to put down the gun, the complaint said.
The weapon was a 38-caliber Rossi revolver, according to the court papers.
Wolber said his client didn’t know the two intruders, or know what they were after in his house, or if they thought it was abandoned.
Stolarczyk lived in the home with his parents, but they have both died, Wolber said. His dad owned the handgun, and Stolarczyk said he recently discovered it in the home and never registered it himself, he said.
Stolarczyk, 64, has been charged with criminal possession of a firearm, a Class E felony, police said.
In court in Utica, Stolarczyk was arraigned and his bail was set at $15,000, but he doesn’t have the money, Wolber said.
Since his home is still cordoned off as a crime scene with technicians gathering evidence, he told Wolber he had nowhere to go and might as well remain in jail for now, Wolber said.
Wolber said he fully believes Stolarczyk was justified in shooting and killing the two intruders and doesn’t expect any more charges. He plans to ask the district attorney to dismiss the gun charge as well “in the interest of justice.”
He said there also is a statement from a person who drove the two people to the house.
Patricia Talerico was currently on parole for a weapons charge. She was sentenced to 1 1/2 years to 3 years in prison for third-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon in 2016, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision records. She was released in June 2018.
She also served time in state prison for grand larceny in 2010; she was released in 2011, state records show.
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