Korzeniewski Enters Mental Illness Plea In Court
MAYVILLE — Brian Korzeniewski, 52, of Jamestown has entered a plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect in Chautauqua County Court.
Patrick Swanson, county district attorney, advised the court that two forensic psychiatrists, one retained by the district attorney and one retained by Korzeniewski, both reached the conclusion that Korzeniewski, due to mental disease or defect, did not have the capacity under New York state law to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions when he killed Michael Bull at 508 Sixth St., Jamestown, on or around Aug.t 17-19, 2017. The plea resolves the entire indictment against Korzeniewski, which had charged him with second-degree murder.
Korzeniewski was indicted by a grand jury Oct. 4 on the second-degree murder charge.
Police found Bull Aug. 19, 2017 outside the pair’s East Sixth Street apartment complex in Jamestown. Bull, 54, was found lying face-down between two vehicles after police were notified of a “suspicious situation” earlier that morning. Bull died as the result of blunt-force trauma. No motive for the killing has been released.
Jeanne Johnson, Bull’s sister, told The Post-Journal shortly after her brother’s murder that she was shocked to learn Korzeniewski, a neighbor of Bull’s, had been charged with second-degree murder.
“I’ve seen Brian many times,” Johnson said. “He was always very nice and very kind.”
Johnson said two days before the murder, Korzeniewski had locked himself out of his apartment; Bull helped his neighbor get back inside by lifting him through an open window.
Johnson noted that the two men got along well, to the point Korzeniewski was the first person she thought of after learning of Bull’s death.
“When we realized he was gone and were talking about what to do with all the stuff in his apartment I said ‘Why not just tell Brian he could have whatever he wants,'” Johnson recalled telling Delores Myers, Bull’s niece.
“I was shocked,” Johnson said when told later of Korzeniewski’s involvement. “It just seemed so out of character and I wondered what could have happened that would have flipped the switch on him.”
Upon acceptance of Korzeniewski’s plea, Chautauqua County Court will issue an order committing Korzeniewski to the secure custody of the state Department of Mental Hygiene. Korzeniewski will be examined by two more psychiatrists who will submit their reports to the court. After review of those reports the court will determine the proper place for confinement and treatment of Korzeniewski, as well as the initial duration of his treatment and confinement.
“This case is such a tragic case,” Swanson said. “The defendant and the victim were friends. I believe with proper care and treatment that this killing was completely avoidable. Our society is struggling right now with how to best manage persons with serious mental health issues. Sadly, in individuals who have a dangerous mental disease or defect, their brain operations fail to mediate provoking feelings like fear, frustration, anger or rage. As a result, these extremely powerful feelings are not mitigated or contained and therefore can result in violent behavior. What happened in this instance was a result of uncontrolled and serious mental disease. The doctors here both agreed that Mr. Korzeniewski was not able to substantially appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions because of his serious mental disease. It was no surprise to us that the two examining doctors agreed on Mr. Korzeniewski’s condition. It was evident at the onset of this case that he was suffering from some sort of serious debilitating condition. I anticipate that Mr. Korzeniewski will be placed in the custody of New York State Department of Mental Hygiene where they will ensure he can never hurt anyone again.”
Swanson credits the Jamestown Police Department with conducting a thorough investigation into the killing of Michael Bull and the involvement of Korzeniewski in the crime. The investigation discovered that Korzeniewski had a long history of mental disease before Bull’s killing. Swanson also thanked the Chautauqua County Forensic Investigation Team for the work on the case.