The article was originally published on GoErie.com by Tim Hahn on May 9, 2018.
John P. Grazioli, accused of fatally shooting his wife in their Millcreek Township home before driving to Erie and confessing to a Catholic priest on the afternoon of March 8, sat silently in a packed courtroom on Tuesday afternoon as prosecutors presented testimony from his ex-wife and two township police officers in presenting their homicide case against him.
The hearing took a little less than a half-hour to wrap up with Millcreek Township District Judge Laurie McKielski’s decision to hold the 44-year-old Grazioli for trial on all charges, including criminal homicide, in the death of 31-year-old Amanda Grazioli.
Investigators charge that Grazioli, who is in the Erie County Prison without bond, confessed to killing his wife inside their residence at 5843 Forest Crossing, in the Whispering Woods subdivision. His ex-wife, Erica Grazioli, testified under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Erin Connelly that she was at work on March 8 when Grazioli, whom she said she had known since she was a teenager, called her iPhone. She said Grazioli told her he had left a box on her porch and said he had killed Amanda.
Erica Grazioli said Grazioli also told her he had shot Amanda Grazioli and that she was on the bed, and he told his ex-wife that he planned to kill himself and said he had a gun.
When asked by Connelly if she tried to talk Grazioli out of suicide, Erica Grazioli said that was “the bulk of my time” on the phone. At the end of the call, Grazioli said he was going to confession, she said.
Erica Grazioli said that while she was on the phone with Grazioli, she handed a co-worker a note telling the co-worker to call 911. She said she later received a text message from Grazioli that stated he was waiting for a priest.
Erica Grazioli, a neurologist, was asked under cross-examination by Grazioli’s lawyer, Nathaniel Strasser, about Grazioli’s mental state during the call. She said he was very upset, and she stated it was a “completely unique circumstance” so she thought he was “distraught, for sure.”
Erie police Cpl. Mike Panighetti testified that he and other township police officers who went to the Forest Crossing residence found Amanda Grazioli’s body in a first-floor master bedroom after they entered the house through the basement and found two pit bulls in cages in the basement. At the foot of her body, on the opposite side of the bed, was a legal pad with a note written on it, Panighetti said.
He said the note contained Grazioli’s confession to killing his wife. It also included information about Grazioli’s lawyer, whom he said had his will, and it stated that his ex-wife would need access to the house so their children could collect their belongings.
Panighetti additionally testified that a spent 9 mm shell casing was found on an end table in the bedroom.
Millcreek police Detective Ryan Bolash testified that a ping of Grazioli’s phone after the shooting indicated that he was in the 200 block of West 12th Street in Erie. Police soon found his car at St. Peter Cathedral at West 10th and Sassafras streets, and they found Grazioli in the rectory of the church. A 9 mm handgun was found in Grazioli’s coat, and it was sent to the Pennsylvania State Police for testing, along with the recovered shell casing and a bullet recovered from Amanda Grazioli, Bolash said.
A report from state police stated that the bullet and the shell casing were fired from the handgun, he said.
Investigators learned that Grazioli bought the gun from a local sports store in February, Bolash said. The gun’s case, paperwork related to the purchase, a bag from the store where the gun was purchased and two boxes of ammunition were found during a search of Grazioli’s business, Grazioli Asset Management, 3614 W. 12th St., on March 23, he said.