Boglioli, 60, of Wilmington, claims he shot his neighbor George Riccitelli in self-defense when Riccitelli threatened him with ax handle on August 15, 2008. Under Vermont law, the prosecution is required to prove that Boglioli did not act in self-defense.
Judge Karen Carroll denied a motion by defense attorney Matthew Harnett for a judgement of acquittal. “The state has failed to produce evidence an all elements of second-degree murder,” Harnett said. “The state has not produced enough evidence that this (shooting) did not occur in self-defense.”
State’s Attorney David Gartenstein countered that he and assistant Steven Brown presented evidence that Boglioli had a “longstanding intent to do harm to Mr. Riccitelli.” Prosecution witnesses testified that Boglioli purchased the gun he used in the shooting in 2006, and several witnesses said Boglioli told them he purchased the gun because he was afraid of Riccitelli. One witness, a plumber working at Boglioli’s house, testified that he heard Boglioli say he was going to kill Riccitelli and Ken Willis, his landlord. “The main issue is whether the state failed to disprove self-defense,” Gartenstein said. “Three witnesses testified that Mr. Riccitelli had nothing in his hands (before the shooting).”
Prosecutors contend that an ax handle found in a nearby dumpster was placed there before the shooting by Boglioli, in an attempt to establish a claim of self-defense. Harnett says the handle was placed in the dumpster after the shooting, perhaps by one of the three witnesses, all of whom were friends of Riccitelli’s.
In denying the motion, Judge Carroll said some of the “most damning” evidence against Boglioli was a series of statements he made while he was in custody and during phone calls to relatives from the facility where he has been held since his arraignment. In some of the excerpts, Boglioli also indicated that his concern about being forced out of his house played a role in his attitude toward Riccitelli. In more than one excerpt, he said he wouldn’t “back down” from Riccitelli and any pressure to move from the house.
In one of the recordings played for jurors, Boglioli told a relative, Dorinda Palmisano, that Riccitelli had been “on his case” for ten years. He said purchased the gun after he found a cat that he believed Riccitelli had put in his house to harm his pets, a bird and a hamster.
In an excerpt from a call with Frank Palmisano, Boglioli appeared to indicate that shooting Riccitelli had solved his problems on Greenwich Road. “I just got rid of the problem,” he said. “I just killed the problem. He was after me for 10 years. Kenny (Willis) never came after me. I just swept my problem away.
In a call to Dorinda Palmisano, he told her “this couldn’t have gone any other way. It was destined to go that way. I couldn’t let myself be driven out.” In another call, he said “I dug myself in there. “I had a big investment in that house, and f--- him, I wasn’t going to let him drive me out. He made a big mistake by underestimating me, and I’d do it again in a minute in a case like that.”
Boglioli also told Palmisano he didn’t feel guilty about shooting Riccitelli. “When that happened, and I must have been cool under fire, it seemed so right,” he said. “I have no guilt. I wish he could have gone some other way, but I wholeheartedly think he brought this on himself.”
Judge Carroll noted that Boglioli didn’t mention didn’t mention an ax handle in any of the selected excerpts. But in one of the recordings made while he was in custody, Boglioli did bolster his claim that the shooting was an act of self-defense. “If it wasn’t him laying down there, it would have been me,” he told police on the recording. In a call to Christen McLean in December, Boglioli told her “I saw it coming from the minute I saw (Riccitelli). He had me blocked off. I said ‘f---, there’s no way out of this.’ I had been avoiding him for years.” In a call to Dorinda Palmisani, Boglioli said that if he could have “hijacked (Riccitelli) and shot him in the back, and the gotten rid of the gun,” he would have done so before the shooting in 2008, but, he said, “I couldn’t live with myself.” But on the day of the shooting, he said, “I wasn’t going to sit there and take a beating or get killed.”
In earlier testimony Friday, expert witnesses testified that an ax handle found in a dumpster near the spot Riccitelli fell after he was shot, offered little in the way of forensic evidence. Human DNA was found on the handle, but the sample wasn’t sufficient to develop a DNA profile that could be matched to an individual. No identifiable fingerprints were found on either the ax hand or the gun. Boglioli admits to using the gun to shoot Riccitelli.