Belchertown man charged with homicide has bail reduced

For The Recorder
Friday, January 26, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — A Belchertown man accused of killing a man waiting at an Amherst bus stop in 2016 will remain behind bars after a Hampshire Superior Court judge substantially lowered his bail Tuesday afternoon.

Peter Sheremeta, 21, is being held on $10,000 bail after Judge Richard Carey reduced that amount from $100,000. Sheremeta pleaded not guilty to charges including motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol, manslaughter and manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol.

Amherst Police said Sheremeta was behind the wheel of a stolen pickup truck that struck and killed William E. Wanczyk, 55, of Northampton, on the night of Nov. 6, 2016. Wanczyk was waiting at a bus shelter in front of 141 North Pleasant St. in Amherst shortly after 9:30 p.m. when a speeding green 2008 Ford F550 truck left the road, struck Wanczyk and continued a short way before being abandoned, court records state. Wanczyk died on the way to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Sheremeta’s attorney Bonnie Allen argued in court Tuesday that another man, not Sheremeta, was initially the prime suspect in the case and that two witness accounts undermine the commonwealth’s case.

Members of Waczyk’s family gathered in the courtroom Tuesday to watch Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jayme Parent and Allen argue bail. Sitting across the aisle, Sheremeta’s mother and her fiance listened as well.

In arguing for the bail amount to remain at $100,000, Parent told the judge that Sheremeta has a criminal record dating back to March 2016 and in every docket had either a default, a failure to comply with court orders, or a warrant. Allen countered that Sheremeta’s record coincides with Sheremeta’s drug addiction and homelessness. Allen added that Sheremeta’s addiction to opiates began in high school after he suffered a major knee injury. He entered a detox program in November 2016 and has been sober since that time, Allen said in court. She requested bail be set at $1,000 which was all Sheremeta’s mother had in her savings account, she said.

Sheremeta has been incarcerated in connection with the case for seven months. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 30.