A New York man was found dead inside his Staten Island home and his wife was discovered with her hands duct taped in the garage, but police say she’s their prime suspect.
Frank Baldassarre, 82, died of blunt force trauma to the head. Police believe his wife, 67-year-old Antoinette Baldassarre, struck him over the head with a crowbar and then set their home ablaze. She was found in the garage, where investigators say the fire was started.
Initially, Antoinette allegedly claimed she was the victim of home invasion. She was rushed to Richmond County University Hospital where she was treated for smoke inhalation.
Police determined she taped her hands herself and set the fire in the garage.
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She was charged with murder and arson on Thursday.
She reportedly told investigators, “I was sick and tired of his abuse,” police sources told the Daily News.
The Baldassarre's neighbors spoke well of the couple. Many expressed shock at the charges.
"Good people -- very good people," neighbor of 30 years Tifo Zuberi told the Staten Island Advance.
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"To me they were a great old Italian couple," said a woman who lived next door to the couple for 20 years. "I just can't wrap my head around it. They were always gardening together, always hanging out in the backyard. It's shocking."
"They were very nice and humble," said neighbor Tracey Sullivan. "They're always keeping their yard up, pulling out the weeds and making sure it's clean. They always had a nice word to say -- I can't believe it."
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / christopdesoto, NY Daily News / Michael Oates