The reference in an anonymous letter to an affair between my brother’s wife Susan and Salamanca police officer Mark Marowski (see previous post of August 11, 2014) raises further concerns about the failure of the New York State Police to look into the possibility that Marowski might have been involved in my brother’s death. This post pursues that issue by considering problematic and contradictory statements made by the State Police related to the personal argument between my brother and Ofc. Marowski that led to Marowski calling in to the Salamanca police to arrest my brother for DWI.
[Please note: To avoid potential confusion over the fact that both my brother and Ofc. Marowski share the same first name, I use the name “Mark” by itself only for my brother but refer to the policeman as “Ofc. Marowski” or “Marowski.”]
It seems clear that nothing was done to investigate the possibility that Marowski had a role in Mark’s truck fire and his death. As he admitted to Attorney Kelly, Inv. Kalfas did not even question members of the Holy Cross Club who had been present about that argument (see post of April 18, 2013). How could the investigator pursue any potential involvement by Marowski without first finding out what had been said by that police officer and by my brother in their quarrel and what Marowski had said or done when he came back into the club?
I pursued this issue with three members of the New York State Police hierarchy, but was only dismayed by their reactions. When I brought up the problem in 2005 to Sr. Inv. John Wolfe that Kalfas had not interviewed members of the Holy Cross Club about that argument, Mr. Wolfe did not even respond. When I raised the same problem in 2006 with Capt. George Brown, he dismissed the argument with Ofc. Marowski as irrelevant to Mark's death and then asked gruffly if I was claiming that this police officer had killed my brother. I replied as follows: all suspicious elements and all leads should have been checked during the investigation in order to rule out certain things and get to the truth. When I raised that problem in 2007 with Lt. Allen and added that an ordinary citizen would automatically be considered a suspect if he happened to have been involved in a vociferous public argument with a person the day before that individual was killed in such a suspicious manner, he did not respond. It is difficult to know how to interpret the lack of any meaningful response by these three police officials. Were they tacitly affirming that nothing had been done? Or were they in effect implying that they knew something about Ofc. Marowski?
There are also other reasons why I am deeply concerned that the State Police have been far less than forthright about the way they handled the problem of Ofc. Marowski. When I arrived for an interview in 2010 with current Cattaraugus County D. A. Lori Rieman, I found that she had invited retired Sr. Inv. John Ensell, then an investigator for the District Attorney’s office (see post of March 23, 2011). When I stated that there is no mention in the police report of the argument between Marowski and my brother, Mr. Ensell insisted that Marowski had in fact been interviewed. He also went on to say that Holy Cross Club members present during the altercation said that it had not been much of an argument anyway. However, Mr. Ensell’s statement contradicts what Inv. Kalfas explicitly told Atty. Michael Kelly: he had not interviewed members of the Holy Cross Club who were present during that argument. Did Mr. Ensell even talk to Marowski? Or if so, was he simply taking Marowski’s word on the issue?
At that meeting, D. A. Rieman herself shifted the blame squarely onto my brother by insisting that he had had no business driving after getting so intoxicated and by adding that Marowski had not driven home drunk. I replied by asking, “What, you mean he walked home?” D. A. Rieman did not reply. It is well known that Marowski was frequently intoxicated at the Holy Cross Club, and he was reportedly really drunk that day. In addition, according to a long-time member of the Holy Cross Club, a friend informed him that right after Marowski called in to the Salamanca police to pick Mark up for DWI, he finished his own drink and left in his car.
How could the State Police have failed to look closely at Marowski as a potential suspect? His disreputable character was well recognized. Consider the following: (1) Marowski was well known for his problems with alcohol; in 2006, he himself got a DWI, for which he was suspended from the Salamanca police force and reportedly forced to retire with his pension. (2) As I learned from documents obtained through a FOIL request, Marowski has been sued numerous times for failing to pay debts and for defrauding the Holy Cross Club of $2,000. (3) According to reliable sources, Marowski got into trouble as a police officer for using physical force on women (wives or girl friends) with whom he lived. Other disturbing things about Marowski have also been brought to my attention, but I refrain from mentioning them at this point.
Even without the allegation of an affair, it is inexcusable that the State Police did not directly investigate Ofc. Marowski in connection with my brother's death. For whatever reasons, they were protecting Marowski. But “the blue of silence” is a disgrace to our justice system. Police potentially involved in a serious crime have no right to be exempt from investigation or to be protected from prosecution. Mark Marowski should have been investigated. He still should be.