Police in Pennsylvania responded last week to a Catholic church not long after a man there allegedly confessed to a priest that he’d killed his wife, according to multiple news reports.
The murder suspect’s alleged confession was reportedly the third time he voluntarily admitted to what he’d done, authorities believe. It appears the slaying, suspected confessions and the man’s arrest occurred within the same day
According to the Altoona Mirror, 44-year-old John Grazioli, allegedly fled his Millcreek Township home on Thursday moments after he fatally shot wife Amanda Grazioli, 31, once in the back of the head.
Millcreek police believe that John then called his ex-wife soon after leaving a note at the foot of the bed where authorities would later find Amanda’s body, reports local TV station WJET/WXFP.
John’s note, according to the Erie Times-News, allegedly read, “I am profoundly sorry.”
The Mirror reports that John was in the middle of a custody battle with his ex-wife and that his wife was set to testify in that case before she was killed.
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After her call with John ended, the ex-wife dialed 911 and relayed the substance of their conversation to dispatchers, according to these local reports. The criminal complaint against him contends that John told his former spouse he was considering suicide.
Detectives allegedly pinged his phone, tracking it to nearby Erie, Pennsylvania, and the parking lot of the Saint Peter Cathedral.
Officers found John’s vehicle in the church’s parking lot. He was inside the church, reports the Times-News.
The complaint, according to the paper, alleges that John had entered the rectory office, where he sat with a priest and confessed to killing his wife.
The priest then convinced John they should notify the authorities. He was only able to do so because the alleged admission occurred in the rectory office, and not during a formal confession session, the Times-News reports.
“He was a little distraught and, after a moment, he pretty much just said I need to tell you that I killed my wife and I am going to go home and kill myself,” the priest told the paper. “After a little while, I was able to convince him for the sake of the rest of his family and other people that it would be a good idea to call the police — 911.”
John allegedly purchased the gun used to kill his wife a month before the murder, according to local TV. Local reports also claim he confessed to authorities after being taken into custody.
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He has been charged with criminal homicide, first-degree murder, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, possession of an instrument of crime and firearm not to be carried without a license.
He is being held without bond. He has not pleaded to his charges.
It was unclear Tuesday if he had retained an attorney who could comment on his behalf.