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VAN RENSSELAER ST. MAN INDICTED IN FATAL BEATING

A 19-year-old resident of Van Rensselaer Street has been indicted on criminally negligent homicide charges in a beating in Buffalo's Valley area, sources confirmed.

State Supreme Court Justice John F. O'Donnell was scheduled to arraign Eric G. Bridenbaker on Friday in the death of Matthew Drzymala, sources said. Bridenbaker has been free on bail.

Neither Mark M. Jasen, Bridenbaker's attorney, nor prosecutors would comment on the indictment, but sources confirmed Bridenbaker testified before the grand jury two weeks ago in an attempt to explain how he had angrily confronted Drzymala, 29, on Smith Street at about 3 p.m. July 24.

Cheektowaga Town Justice Thomas S. Kolbert had placed Bridenbaker on probation last November in another assault case.

An hour after the July 24 beating, Bridenbaker reportedly told Buffalo police he had confronted Drzymala, who was drunk, because Drzymala had falsely told a Smith Street man that he had slept with the man's wife.

According to court sources, Bridenbaker, who had tried to revive Drzymala, said he punched Drzymala because he thought Drzymala was about to punch him.

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