FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The woman accused of killing her 70-year-old boyfriend inside his Fort Lauderdale mansion in June 2011 was found guilty of second-degree murder with a firearm Wednesday.
It was obviously an emotional 14 hours behind closed doors for the jury, as many appeared teary-eyed as they walked into the courtroom.
There was no visible reaction from Catherine Pileggi, though her attorney said she didn't have unrealistic expectations.
"I know that she is a gentle, sweet, kind, timid person who would never hurt a fly unless she was severely provoked, and she was that night," attorney Bruce Udolf told Local 10 News.
Last week, Pileggi took the stand in her own defense, telling jurors she suffered through two decades of verbal, physical and sexual abuse before she killed Ron Vinci. She also claimed Vinci pointed a loaded gun at her earlier that fatal evening and said she soiled herself.
According to police, Pileggi shot Vinci in the head, stabbed him in the chest nine times, slashed his throat with a knife and crushed his skull with a hammer before wrapping his body in bedding and plastic bags with duct tape.
This all happened at Vinci's waterfront home in Fort Lauderdale.
"I think the word overkill is most appropriate here," prosecutor Molly McGuire said. "You have a woman who killed somebody almost four times over it would appear."
A video showed Pileggi buying a blue plastic 45-gallon container at Home Depot on the morning of Vinci's death, police said. An identical container appeared in the crime scene photos taken at Vinci's home.
She later confessed, telling detectives her plan was to dump his body in the ocean before she was caught.
Last Thursday, the woman considered the authority when it comes to battered-woman syndrome, Dr. Lenore Walker, took the stand and told the jury that Pileggi exhibited many factors used to diagnose women suffering from the syndrome.
"I found that she was a battered woman, that she had battered-woman syndrome, in my opinion," Walker said.
Pileggi faces at least 30 years in prison and up to life in prison once she is sentenced.
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