A 21-year-old Amherst man accused of beating his 73-year-old grandmother to death inside her Kaymar Drive home was the subject of a domestic call to her house within the past week, Amherst police said.
Vel Sedita, a mother of two, was found dead at about 7 p.m. Saturday inside her home at 462 Kaymar, a quiet residential neighborhood just west of the Lockport Expressway in the Willow Ridge neighborhood.
Amherst police believe she died from blunt force trauma to the head. An autopsy is scheduled for today.
Richard B. D'Andrea is charged with second-degree murder.
Sunday, police said they were called to the home about a week ago for the report of a domestic incident involving D'Andrea, who lived with his grandmother on and off over the past few years.
That call was one of five times police have been summoned to the home since 2004, and all five incidents involved D'Andrea, said police, who did not disclose details of the incidents.
"There was a prior history of domestic issues at the home," Amherst Police Lt. Paul L. Fels said Sunday. "He lived with his grandmother intermittently, and he may have been living there since 2004."
D'Andrea was arraigned Sunday before Amherst Town Justice Geoffrey K. Klein. He is being held in the Erie County Holding Center without bail.
Police said D'Andrea is being represented by attorney Andrew C. LoTempio, who also representing Bike Path Killer suspect Altemio C. Sanchez.
The homicide rattled some residents of the town, long ranked as one of the safest communities in the United States.
"I'm really shocked," Amherst Supervisor Satish B. Mohan said. "This is an isolated incident. The best police force couldn't have helped this because it was a domestic incident, and it happened within the house."
When family members were unable to contact the victim, they contacted Amherst police. At about 7 p.m. Saturday, police arrived at the Kaymar Drive residence.
"Her family members were concerned about her," Fels said. "The officers met the family members there and gained entry. . . . The house was locked, and the woman was inside the house."
Police arrested D'Andrea overnight, and he was brought to Police Headquarters on John James Audubon Parkway. It was unclear where the suspect was picked up.
Neighbors said Vel Sedita was friendly and was often seen alone.
One neighbor said that the last time he saw her was Saturday morning, talking to a young man outside her home.
The neighbor, a 40-year-old man who asked not to be identified, said he also remembers seeing her quarreling with a young man in the doorway of her home about two years ago.
"She stayed home all the time," the neighbor said. "We always felt sorry for her because she was by herself all the time."
Family members of Sedita said she worked in her younger years at Kmart and was separated from her husband. She has a son and a daughter, Dawn D'Andrea, who is the mother of Richard D'Andrea.
"It's a tragedy all around," said a Williamsville woman, a relative of Richard D'Andrea, who did not want to be identified. "[Sedita] always sent me a Christmas card every year. She always signed her name and the names of her daughter, son, and her grandson, Richie."
"I don't know what happened," she said. "Richie was a good boy."