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Man Confesses To Sister’s Murder - Two Years Later

March 7, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ Guilt drove a man to turn himself in and confess after more than two years on the run since he bludgeoned and strangled his sister in a dispute over money, police say.

″I think the police are looking for me,″ officials quoted Henry Zalewski as saying when he walked into a police station Saturday evening.

Zalewski, 54, was charged Sunday with second-degree murder in the killing of his sister, Genevieve Zalewski, 62, in the apartment they shared on Sept. 30, 1985.

″He did it in a fit of anger ... and because of a financial situation he was in,″ said Detective Joseph Stabile.

Zalewski also was charged with attempted murder for the beating of a neighbor, Alice Turel, now 50, on the same day.

Detectives said that during his confession Zalewski said he turned himself in because the guilt was driving him toward suicide.

Stabile said that at the time of the slaying Zalewski was penniless and in debt to a loanshark for $8,400.

On the morning of the slaying, Zalewski made his sister breakfast. While she was in the kitchen, he struck her on the head with a piece of pipe, dragged her into a bedroom and strangled her with rope, Stabile said.

While fleeing he encountered Turel and beat her over the head with a pair of pliers before kicking her down a flight of stairs, Stabile said. Turel needed 67 stitches in the head.

He disappeared after the attack but police watched the apartment for three months because a hit list of neighbors was discovered inside, Officer Hugh Barry said.

Zalewski said he took $40 from the house and began wandering up and down the East Coast. He got a Social Security number under a phony name and alternated between getting welfare and temporary work.

Stabile said Zalewski started drinking a quart of vodka a day to try to dull the memory of killing his sister.

Three weeks ago, he phoned St. Stanislaus Church to find out where his sister was buried.

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