Facts According to the Prosecution.
Peter Wlasiuk, driving his white GMC pickup truck, picked up his wife Patty Wlasiuk after work at the Sidney Hospital where she worked the 3-11 shift as a nurse.
After picking her up after work as/about 11:15PM, he drove her back to their residence on New Virginia Rd. in Oxford, NY (about a 20 minute drive. Once there, she had something to eat and then he forced her to drink beer.
He then took her outside behind the residence near the above ground swimming pool where he assaulted her, pushing her into a burdock bush growing behind the pool. During the continuing assault, he killed her by smothering her.
At some point during the struggle, the outer jacket she was wearing got turned inside out.
After killing her, he dragged her body back to his GMC pickup truck and placed her body and jacket in the open bed of the truck.
He then drove his truck from the residence down the hill to CR 35 where he turned left to head towards Guilford, NY.
As he traveled along CR 35, Guilford Lake was on his left. As he approached an area where there was a break in the guide rail, he pulled over onto the south shoulder, then turned left back across CR 35 and stopped at the top of a private driveway.
There, he got out of his truck, reached in and placed it in drive, shut the door, then let the truck travel down an earth embankment for about 70 feet before it entered the lake.
Shortly after entering the lake, the truck totally submerged in about 12 feet of water.
Peter then entered the lake himself to get himself wet, except his head and then ran to a nearby residence to report the accident with the resident calling 9-1-1.
Shortly thereafter, first responders started arriving. Peter was placed in the back of a patrol car initially, then later transferred into an ambulance. Both civilians and officials searched for Patty w/out success.
Soon, a NYS Police diver arrived on the scene, entered the water and found Patty on the lake bottom within a couple of minutes. She was found outside the truck on the driver’s side rear. The diver lifted her to the surface to rescuers in a waiting boat over the submerged truck.
Patty was taken to shore and resuscitation efforts began. She was placed on a stretcher and into an ambulance and transported to Sidney Hospital with CPR in progress the entire time.
Patty was pronounced dead shortly after her arrival at the hospital. Peter also went to the hospital by a different ambulance. EMT’s had him remove his wet clothing and were treating him with warming methods. Peter was examined at the hospital for possible hypothermia but no symptoms were found.
Peter told Investigators that Patty was driving and that she had swerved to miss a deer on CR 35 and drove into lake. He also told Investigators that he had excited the submerged truck on the passenger side with Patty but could not hold onto her. He further told investigators that after he got out of the frigid water, he yelled Patty’s name several times.
Patty was taken to Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, NY where an autopsy was performed later that same morning by Dr. James Terzian. During the autopsy several bruises and contusions were noted on her head and back and there were burdocks tangled in her hair. Photos were taken and evidence was collected by attending Chenango County Sheriff’s Dept. police officers. Dr. Terzian made a provisional finding of "Drowning – pending toxicology"
A few days later, Dr. Terzian learned from police officials and a botanist, that there were no burdock plants at/near the scene of the accident that could explain the burdocks in her hair. Accordingly, Dr. Terzian amended his finding to "Asphyxiation due to smothering" and rules it a homicide.
Furthermore, an accident re-constructionist determined that Peter’s account of what happened was not consistent with the evidence at the scene.
Additionally, a police diver re-entered the lake a few days later and found the victims jacket on the lake bottom with sleeves turned inside out and covered with burdocks.
Police also found hairs in the burdock bush behind the pool at the residence and more hairs in the bed of the pickup truck that matched the DNA of Patty.
Police also claimed Peter had been abusive to Patty on several prior occasions including punching her in the head and kicking her in the chest.