Summer Villa Resident Charged with Three Counts of Felony Assault
Both the suspect and victim have been identified and charges have been filed.
Coventry Police Chief Bryan Volpe called a press conference Monday morning at the Coventry Police Department to discuss the ongoing investigation regarding the suspicious death of a Summer Villa resident early Saturday morning.
Volpe stated that Joseph Costa, 61, was found in an outdoor smoking area at the assisted living facility shortly before 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Costa had sustained multiple head and face injuries and was knocked unconscious. After CPR was performed by emergency responders, he was transported to Kent Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 4:30 a.m.
After further investigation and ongoing review of surveillance video from Summer Villa, Volpe explained that an "especially vicious and long-enduring assault" between Costa and fellow resident Domenic Petrarca, 54 had taken place, beginning around 1 a.m. Saturday. There were no witnesses to the incident.
Petrarca was arrested and arraigned Sunday night at Kent Hospital where he was transported for a form of mental illness. As of Monday morning, he was re-arraigned in Kent County Court and charged with three counts of felony assault, one count for assault with his hands and two more involving items found at the scene. A mental competency screening will be conducted as part of the legal process and a felony screening will take place on Nov. 5. Petrarca is being held at the ACI on a $100,000 surety bond.
It is still unclear as to whether or not there is any history between the two residents or if Petrarca has had disciplinary problems at the facility in the past, however Volpe stated that Summer Villa staff members are surprised at the incident and have said that this is out of character for him.
Detectives are still reviewing the evidence and extensive video footage from other areas of the facility and are also awaiting the results of Costa's autopsy, which could possibly result in additional charges for Petrarca, including murder.
"We are looking at just about everything that's coming across the board," said Volpe. "We haven't viewed the video footage in 100 percent detail yet, but it is obvious that a vicious assault did take place."
Stay with Coventry Patch for more information as it becomes available.