Tag Archives: Carmelo Cucchiara

Bayside man accused of killing parents pleads not guilty

| mchan@queenscourier.com


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.

Bayside man charged with murdering parents 15 months apart

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Bayside man faces murder charges for allegedly suffocating his father a little more than a year after drowning his mother, according to the district attorney.

Gregory Cucchiara, 36, has been named in an indictment charging him with two counts of second-degree murder for beating his mother over the head before submerging her in water and smothering his father to death, District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Giusepina “Josephine” Cucchiara’s homicide took place May 24, 2011, the district attorney said, and father Carmelo Cucchiara was killed 15 months in August 2012.

“This is a horrifying case of a young man throwing his life away and betraying the trust of his family,” Brown said. “The defendant’s actions, if true, are incomprehensible in a civilized society and must be severely punished.”

Neighbors described the Cucchiaras as “the nicest people” but said they had their own troubles with the deceased couple’s “problematic” son.

“The parents were sweethearts, but the son was a little weird. Unfortunately, he had problems,” said neighbor Rossana F., who did not want to give her last name.

Rossana said her family has a two-year restraining order filed against Gregory Cucchiara after they provided video proof to police that the neighbor was vandalizing her family’s cars and home.

She said the community was not shocked when news broke of Cucchiara’s alleged connection to his parents’ murders.

“We knew immediately when it happened to Josephine. We all said we thought it was the son,” Rossana said. “We knew someday something would happen to the father. We knew it, and he knew it.”

Neighbor Craig Guzzone said Cucchiara was “definitely a significant danger to everybody here,” but Guzzone said he did not think his longtime neighbor had murder in his heart.

“I really didn’t know he was capable of that,” he said.

Cucchiara is charged in a separate indictment, with various degrees of assault and obstructing governmental administration, for allegedly attacking two police officers last month, when they questioned him about the murders.

He is expected to be arraigned on both indictments on December 12 in Queens Supreme Court and faces up to 50 years to life in prison if convicted, the district attorney said.