Joseph Castronova of Hollywood, Florida, was arrested on December 2 for allegedly causing the death of a man he reportedly choked into unconsciousness more than five years ago. Castronova, 30, faces a manslaughter charge for the death of Sidney Reznik, 68, who died in 2014. He is being held without bond at Broward County Jail and it is unclear if he has hired an attorney.
Broward medical examiner’s office ruled Reznik’s death to be a homicide caused by a “complication of remote blunt head trauma.” Castronova’s alleged chokehold is now believed to be the cause of death—four years after the fact.
According to a police affidavit, Castronova and Reznik met at Hollywood Billiards on 430 South State Road 7 in 2011. Reznik was an avid pool player and a member of several leagues. His widow, Anne Reznik, told news sources that her husband used to play pool at least three times a week.
On the night of the alleged choking incident, Castronova and Reznik were discussing whether the former was a “black belt in karate.” Castronova purportedly said he could prove he was a black belt and witnesses claim he placed Reznik in a chokehold against the older man’s will.
Reznik passed out and collapsed, striking his head on a metal pole. He was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital, where he was treated for what the police report describes as a “brain bleed.” Mrs. Reznik said her husband was never the same after he was discharged from the hospital; he reportedly felt dizzy all the time and was unsteady on his feet.
Despite undergoing physical rehabilitation and taking prescribed medications, Reznik’s condition continued to deteriorate. Mrs. Reznik told sources that her husband “could no longer recognize” her five months after the accident. His condition worsened until his death on October 21, 2015.
Before he died, Reznik reportedly wanted Castronova prosecuted for the injury. Castronova pleaded guilty to a felony battery charge in 2014 and was placed on probation for five years and agreed to pay $51,931 in restitution to cover Reznik’s medical bills.
According to the press, Castronova and his family are stunned by the developments in the case because they thought the ordeal was behind him after he pleaded guilty to felony battery in 2014. If convicted, Castronova could face up to 15 years in prison. However, Mrs. Reznik has made it clear that she doesn’t want him to be sent to prison.
“He has a long life ahead . . . let [Castronova] pay the restitution he owes,” she said. Castronova has reportedly paid out around $10,000 to the widow since the 2014 ruling. His father, Dino Castronova, told news sources that he had just started a new job as a construction project manager when he was arrested for manslaughter.