The attorney for a Van Rensselaer Street man Friday said he will ask a judge to dismiss his client's one-count criminally negligent homicide indictment for the alleged beating death of an alcoholic man he had befriended in Buffalo's Valley District.
After the arraignment of Eric G. Bridenbaker on the indictment, attorney Mark M. Jasen said he will ask the judge to whom the case will be assigned to throw out the charge on legal grounds.
Bridenbaker has admitted he punched the late Matthew Drzymala once before the victim fell to the ground and suffered a fatal head injury. "But as a matter of law, one punch does not constitute criminally negligent homicide," Jasen said.
Accompanied to court by his mother and grandmother, Bridenbaker, 19, declined to comment after State Supreme Court Justice John F. O'Donnell allowed him to remain free after his arraignment on $22,000 property bail his family posted in August.
Court officials noted prosecutors didn't object to the bail.
Bridenbaker testified two weeks ago before the grand jury that charged him with the lesser felony count. He had initially been arrested and jailed on manslaughter charges.
Bridenbaker told the grand jury that he and a friend were walking down Smith Street at about 3 p.m. July 24 when they spotted Drzymala and confronted him about the alleged "lies" the victim had been telling about him and a married woman, sources said.
Bridenbaker told the grand jury he hit Drzymala in the left cheek because he thought the victim was about to punch him. That punch knocked Drzymala to the ground, and he apparently hit his head on the curb.
Bridenbaker also told the grand jury Drzymala was an alcoholic and a friend of his and that he had frequently stopped others from beating Drzymala, sources confirmed.
Court sources said Bridenbaker, who was placed on probation last November in Cheektowaga Town Court for another assault case, tried unsuccessfully to revive Drzymala at the scene.