- Associated Press - Saturday, April 6, 2019

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - A man declined a judge’s plea to “come clean and tell us why” as he was sentenced to a life term in the murder of wife a year ago in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender told John Grazioli that “no one was going to believe” his story that the shooting was an accident stemming from his inexperience with firearms. The Erie Times-News reported.

Grazioli, 45, was convicted of first -degree murder in February in the death of 31-year-old Amanda Grazioli. Brabender imposed the mandatory life term without possibility of parole Friday and added 10 to 20 months on weapons counts.

“You inflicted pain on so many people,” Brabender told Grazioli, who declined to speak on advice of his lawyer, who cited “a likely appeal” and a wrongful death suit by the victim’s estate. “What people had to go through with this dramatic and emotional and intimate trial.”

Grazioli contended that he accidentally shot 31-year-old Amanda Grazioli in March 2018 while showing her a gun he bought for her birthday. Prosecutors said he left a note saying he shot the victim and told his ex-wife, with whom he was involved in a custody battle.

“Your tale of events was so inconsistent and so wrong,” Brabender said Friday. “The true motive behind this murder has really never been revealed.”

Prosecutors said Grazioli shot his wife in the back of the head in their Millcreek home, then used her phone to text a co-worker that she couldn’t come to work that day. They said then lunched at a tavern, attended a children’s Mass at a church where his children attended school, told his ex-wife about the slaying and then drove to a cathedral to speak with a priest and was arrested there.

The victim’s mother, Denise Katz, said she felt “manipulated” by the defendant, a person she had “loved, trusted and treated like a son.”

“After Amanda’s death, we uncovered so many lies and deceptions,” she said.

Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly said after Friday’s hearing that Grazioli’s motive is unlikely ever to be revealed.

“I think that’s one thing we’re never going to know,” she said. “John’s the only one that knows that, and he’s never going to tell us the truth.”

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Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com

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