Bayside man accused of killing parents pleads not guilty

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Gregory Cucchiara facing double murder charges for allegedly killing his parents pleaded not guilty.
Gregory Cucchiara facing double murder charges for allegedly killing his parents pleaded not guilty.

The Bayside man facing double murder charges for allegedly killing his parents pleaded not guilty last week in Queens Supreme Court, his lawyer said.

Gregory Cucchiara, 36, is being held without bail on Rikers Island for allegedly suffocating his father a little over one year after drowning his mother, authorities said.

According to the district attorney, he beat his mother, Giusepina “Josephine” Cucchiara, over the head before submerging her in water last year on May 24, 2011, and smothered his father, Carmelo Cucchiara, to death 15 months later in August 2012.

Police said they uncovered DNA evidence under the victims’ fingernails, connecting Cucchiara to their murders.

But lawyer Michael Anastasiou said the scientific reports, which he has not yet obtained, could render prosecutors’ “evidence” moot.

“Many times, they say that DNA is extracted from the nail when in fact we find out, as defense attorneys, that it was in fact taken from the top of the nail and not inside,” he said. “Quite honestly, the transfer ability of DNA could occur on both ends, inside and outside, so the difference would be very slight. I could shake your hand and you could shake hands with someone else, and my DNA would be on your hand.”

The attorney said it was “too soon” to review the reports, but hopes DNA and autopsy findings will tip the scale in Cucchiara’s favor.

“The scientific reports here are going to be even more material than any other homicide investigation,” Anastasiou said.

Cucchiara also pleaded not guilty to attacking two police officers last month, when they questioned him about the murders in an Astoria precinct, his lawyer said.

He faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted.