As she pleaded for her life, a 34-year-old mother of four was shot and killed Friday on the steps of a Keystone Avenue porch by the man with whom she had lived for 18 years, witnesses said.
"She was repeating, 'Please, Ray, don't do that, don't shoot,' " said a neighborhood teen-ager who witnessed the shooting. "He put the gun to her head. . . . She fell to the ground."
The woman, identified as Cathy DiDomenico of 191 Keystone by Assistant Chief of Detectives Gregory Simonian, died instantly about 3:30 p.m. A shell from a 12-gauge shotgun was fired into the back of her head as she sat on the lower steps of the front porch at 216 Keystone.
Simonian said Raymond C. Swiderski, also 34, of 216 Keystone, was arrested a short time later by Police Officers Ivan Watkins and Joyce Solomon of the Broadway Station.
Swiderski, who had lived with the victim until recently, was charged with second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon. He will be arraigned this morning in City Court.
Witnesses said they saw Swiderski and Ms. DiDomenico walking down Keystone together before the shooting. Shannon Rice, 15, said she noticed the couple as she was walking home from school.
She said Swiderski pulled the woman across the street to 216 Keystone and made her sit down on the porch, facing the street, then stood behind her and put the shotgun to her head.
The woman pleaded with Swiderski not to shoot, Shannon said.
Homicide Detectives Daniel R. DiPirro and Ray Masecchia, who later recovered the shotgun, said witnesses told them Swiderski broke open the weapon and inserted a shell into it just before he fired.
"We don't know where he had the shotgun prior to the shooting," DiPirro
said. "We are still investigating that detail."
The detectives noted it was a single-shot, sawed-off shotgun.
After the woman fell from the impact of the blast, Swiderski ran away, Shannon said.
Simonian said the couple had four children -- three boys and a girl ranging in age from 6 to 17 -- and had been living together as man and wife for 18 years. He said they had domestic difficulties recently and Swiderski moved down the street.
Crowds of people gathered near 216 Keystone after the shooting, and many of the couple's friends and neighbors expressed shock over the killing.
"It's weird, something like this happening," said Jamie Stimmel, 12, of 103 Brinkman, whose family had been friendly with the couple. "It's so sad, very sad."
The Erie County medical examiner's office said an autopsy will be performed today.