DA: Lehigh County fatal beating spurred on by hockey stick attack

A Lehigh County man was arrested Wednesday for the August beating death of 70-year-old John Sweeney Sr., according to authorities, who allege that the fatal attack was began after the victim struck the suspect with a plastic hockey stick.

Alexander Octa Roscioli, 22, who lives in an apartment in Emmaus, turned himself into authorities Wednesday morning.

Roscioli allegedly became enraged in the early morning hours of Aug. 30 after Sweeney hit him with a plastic hockey stick during an argument inside the apartment, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Roscioli then allegedly punched and kicked the elderly man, causing severe head injuries.

Responding officers shortly before 2:45 a.m. found Sweeney bleeding and unconscious. He was rushed to Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township, where he was placed in critical condition. He died the next day.

An autopsy revealed Sweeney suffered a fractured skull, cerebral hemorrhage, broken ribs and other injuries. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Roscioli is charged with involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Investigators allege he acted "in a reckless or grossly negligent manner," causing the victim's death, according to a press release by the Lehigh County District Attorney. Roscioli was slated to be arraigned Wednesday at Lehigh County Central Booking.

Sweeney worked for 20 years as a bookkeeper and accountant for the former Allentown State Hospital until he retired in 2006, according to an obituary.