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Pa. inmate gets another 10-20 years for stomping death

John Kasianczuk, who was 33 at the time of the attack, beat and kicked inmate Roberto Avalle in the head as they exercised in an outdoor cage


By Bonnie L. Cook
The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — A prisoner who in 2010 beat and stomped to death another inmate at Graterford Prison has been sentenced to 10 to 20 years in jail, a Montgomery County Court judge ruled Monday afternoon.

John A. Kasianczuk of Levittown will serve his term at a state prison, Judge Patricia E. Coonahan said in her ruling.

Kasianczuk, who was 33 at the time of the attack, beat and kicked inmate Roberto Avalle in the head as they exercised in an outdoor cage.

Avalle, then 49, of Philadelphia, was "the new kid on the block," there only 10 days when the attack occurred on Aug. 22, said District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.

Avalle suffered a brain hemorrhage that caused his death on Oct. 9, 2010. Kasianczuk was charged with homicide after a police investigation, and later pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter.

At Monday's hearing, testimony was presented indicating that as a child, Kasianczuk suffered sexual abuse. A remark that Avalle made just before the attack triggered an episode of post-traumatic stress syndrome, according to public defender John E. Kravitz.

Based on those circumstances, Kravitz asked for a lighter sentence.

"He had been assaulted as a child, and the victim had threatened to do the same to him," said Kravitz. "Our contention is that John is ill, and this fellow set him off. He snapped."

Voluntary manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years in prison, so the judge "gave us the maximum," Kravitz said.

"I respectfully disagree with the sentence," Kravitz said, although he said he understood that the judge "tried to protect the people of this county."

At the time of the attack, Avalle was serving a 21/2- to five-year sentence for a witness intimidation case in Philadelphia, Ferman said.

In contrast, Kasianczuk was serving a 11/2- to three-year jail term for a robbery in Bucks County. He had been incarcerated since Aug. 25, 2008, Ferman said, and was about to be released when state troopers arrested him on April 16, 2011.

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