December 18 2017

State Supreme Judicial Court Upholds 2013 Murder Conviction of Christopher Piantedosi

By: Rich Hosford

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts upheld the 2013 jury findings, and subsequent sentence of life in prison, of Christopher Piantedosi on Monday after an appeal was filed by his attorneys.


Piantedosi was found guilty of the May 3, 2012 murder of his longtime girlfriend Kristen Pulisciano in their rented home at 23 Forbes Avenue. Piantedosi was 40 years old at the time and Pulisciano was 38. The couple had a 15-year-old daughter at the time. Pulsiciano also had an older teenage son that the couple was raising.


As reported on BNEWS, police responded to the home at approximately 6:45 p.m. after the victim’s daughter alerted them that her fathered had attacked her mother. According to subsequent reports Piantedosi was at the home to visit his daughter when he got into an argument with the victim. He reportedly pulled out a knife and placed it on a table afterwhich the victim picked it up and told him to leave or she would call the police. Piantedosi then walked into the kitchen, grabbed another knife, and attacked the victim.


According to court documents the murder happened in the daughter’s bedroom after the victim tried to flee Piantedesoi’s attacks. A friend of the daughter, who she had been video chatting with prior to the fight, also witnessed the event through a video chat app after the daughter had left her tablet propped up with a view of the room. The daughter also witnessed the event and had tried to pull her father off her mother before being pushed aside by him.


The victim was found between the daughter’s bed and a wall. She had been stabbed more than 30 times.


In the appeal, Piantedosi’s lawyers said the jury should have found him not guilty by reason of insanity. During the initial trial the defendant called on Dr. Wade Meyers, a forensic psychiatrist who had examined Piantedosi, who said he believed the defendant “did not have the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct and was not able to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.”


To back of this claim Meyer pointed to the fact that the defendant had recently been released from a mental hospital. He also that that Piantedosi had recently been prescribed the antidepressants Prozac and Trazodone which he said made him suffer from “involuntary intoxication.” He said possible side effects of the medications included “irritability, rage reactions, hostility, mania, insomnia, racing thoughts, a disinhibition of behavior, impulsivity and trouble concentrating.”


In the appeal Piandesosi’s attorneys argued that this evidence, along with what they claim was the improper handling of evidence supplied by a state expert on the defendant’s physiological condition, meant the Supreme Judicial Court should rule that the murder be second degree rather than first and that he be found not-guilty on conditions of insanity.


The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that improper use of evidence or jury instructions were found to have impacted the jury decision and that the original conviction would stand.


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