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Harlem graduate accused of Florida murder

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A former Columbia County resident is in a Florida jail, accused of murdering her longtime boyfriend.

Catherine Marie Pileggi: Fort Lauderdale woman, 54, is accused of killing her 70-year-old live-in boyfriend of 20 years.   Special
Special
Catherine Marie Pileggi: Fort Lauderdale woman, 54, is accused of killing her 70-year-old live-in boyfriend of 20 years.

Police say Catherine Marie Pileggi, 54, shot Ronald Charles Vinci in the head, stabbed him in the chest and slit his throat, according to a Broward County police arrest affidavit posted on the Sun Sentinel newspaper Web site.

Early on June 28, Pileggi, a 1974 Harlem High School graduate, told handyman Reynaldo Silva that her 70-year-old boyfriend died in the Fort Lauderdale mansion the couple shared. She said she wanted help loading his body onto a boat because he wanted to be buried at sea.

After several early-morning calls and text messages, including one instructing Silva to rent a U-Haul truck, he went to Vinci's Coconut Drive home.

Pileggi claimed a drunken Vinci fell down the stairs during an argument about 1 a.m., according to the affidavit.

She led Silva to a first-floor bedroom, where what he believed was Vinci's body was on the floor wrapped in bedding and plastic bags.

Suspicious of Pileggi's story and why she hadn't called police, Silva stalled, claiming he needed a hand truck from another of Vinci's properties to move his body.

It was from that home that Silva called a friend of Vinci, who accompanied Silva and another friend back to the home.

Pileggi originally claimed Vinci was out with friends. Silva led the men to Vinci's body.

When they questioned her about the circumstances of Vinci's death, Pileggi admitted that he had been shot in the head and that she had "messed him up bad," according to the affidavit.

The friend called police, and Pileggi was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Witnesses told police that Vinci had tried to end his relationship with Pileggi, his live-in girlfriend of 20 years, the affidavit stated.

While searching Vinci's property, police found a gun and a blood-stained knife and clothing in a Bentley in the garage. The handgun was consistent with the bullet found in Vinci's body, and Pileggi's fingerprint was on its magazine, according to the affidavit.

Vinci, who built several successful Honda dealerships in California, moved to Fort Lauderdale several years ago, according to the Sun Sentinel.

Pileggi was in Columbia County as recently as May 17, when she testified in her defense in a civil suit filed against her in small claims court by her sister, Melissa Grosvenor, of Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.

According to the Magistrate Court small claims filing, Grosvenor alleged that Pileggi had not repaid her for a loan, which Pileggi contended was a gift.

Chief Magistrate Bobby Christine found in favor of Pileggi on May 17 and assigned court costs to Grosvenor.

In 2007, Grosvenor served as a witness for the prosecution in the murder case against music producer Phil Spector.

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augusta citizen
9137
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augusta citizen 07/06/11 - 07:35 pm
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It's too bad that this man

It's too bad that this man was murdered, but does this sound like it's straight from the National Inquirer or what?

gcap
290
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gcap 07/06/11 - 07:42 pm
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If the victim had been a two

If the victim had been a two and a half year old toddler, Ms. Pileggi would be exonerated. Too bad for Ms. Pileggi. She bound for the slammer or the chair. Ain't it a shame.

redapples
659
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redapples 07/06/11 - 07:56 pm
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First mistake, don't admit

First mistake, don't admit your actions...lie, lie, lie! Isn't that the lesson we've learned this week?!

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/06/11 - 08:00 pm
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Well, one would think, but

Well, one would think, but you never know with a jury of one's peers.
Also, it is likely to be considered a crime of passion...as a long term relationship thrown out like yesterday's discarded trash. I find myself having some compassion for her.

dougk
3
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dougk 07/06/11 - 08:21 pm
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TYPICALLY, when a woman
Unpublished

TYPICALLY, when a woman kills...the dude "has it coming." Sort of heartless rule of thumb, but the facts support the sad truth.

Willow, I know you're upset with the Anthony thing..but I I wager that you would vote to acquit if you were on that jury.

scoobynews
3826
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scoobynews 07/06/11 - 08:23 pm
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Do you think she wanted to

Do you think she wanted to make sure he was dead? Come on that is such over kill. Shot, stabbed, and slit throat. This lady was vicious.

augusta citizen
9137
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augusta citizen 07/06/11 - 08:25 pm
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Willow is probably right.

Willow is probably right. She'll probably plead guilty, temporary insanity, get a deal and walk.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/06/11 - 09:04 pm
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scoobynews, the lady was

scoobynews, the lady was scorned. Hell hath no fury...like that of a scorned woman.

It is the over kill that says it was very personal.. all about anger, built up resentment, and extreme pain. When a needy woman invests everything she has in a relationship and is tossed aside with no hope, there is an insanity that can take over. (same for a man) It is very likely, no I will say, probable, that this guy had a new honey in the wings ready to take her spot at the dinner table, the bed and the Bentley. Too much for her to handle.

I am not saying as a juror I would let her go, I wouldn't. But, I do have compassion for her and others just like her.

augusta citizen
9137
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augusta citizen 07/06/11 - 09:42 pm
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I understand what you're

I understand what you're saying Willow, but...she made her choices too. She made the decision to get involved with an older man, to stay with him for 20 years without him making the commitment to marry. I know that these things/sayings are now considered politically incorrect but...my Dad taught his daughters about the free milk and the cow. She didn't have to stay in the relationship at the disadvantage she did, she chose that lifestyle. I am not saying that I don't feel sympathy for her lot in life, but still, she made her own choices.

pommom38
1496
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pommom38 07/06/11 - 09:57 pm
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Get over the Anthony trial

Get over the Anthony trial already.
There is a huge difference between the two, in case you don't know how to comprehend. This case actually has PROOF :-)

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/06/11 - 09:57 pm
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dougk, I followed the trial

dougk, I followed the trial and what I heard was very convincing to me though I realize that I was not present. I can tell you that jury would have had their work cut out dealing with me. I believe they know that she was not innocent, but felt that they could not convict based on the contradictions between the defense , the prosecution and their understanding of the charge to the jury.

As you know we bring our own ourselves with us into any situation. For some reason, the jurors connected more to the defense. If you look at many of the jurors profiles, it isn't hard to see who they would likely connect with and relate too. They would much less likely have identified with the "ivy league, country club looks and attitude" of Jeff Ashton, the lead prosecutor.

Though our system is the best we can come up with and probably succeeds more than it fails, it is far from perfect. We need only blame ourselves as the more educated, intelligent and productive citizens do everything humanly possible to get out of serving.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/06/11 - 10:17 pm
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augustacitizen, you are

augustacitizen, you are correct. We do all have choices, but we must be trained to realize it. Most of the people that I have mentored are not aware of it and live life reacting rather than responding.

PetsArePeopleToo
0
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PetsArePeopleToo 07/07/11 - 12:47 am
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Not to worry , I understand

Not to worry , I understand in Florida murderers are walking out scott free.

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 07/07/11 - 04:41 am
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Question...Why are we

Question...Why are we publicizing the high school a 53 year old woman who may have committed a nefarious act graduated from?

dougk
3
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dougk 07/07/11 - 06:51 am
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Well, because she was a 1974
Unpublished

Well, because she was a 1974 Harlem High School graduate.
I don't think anyone will blame the high school, Riverman.

belle
305
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belle 07/07/11 - 07:57 am
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riverman, that was my first
Unpublished

riverman, that was my first thought. It is usually considered relevant when they have graduated within the last 5 years but who cares what High school this 54 year old woman went to? "Former Columbia County resident" would have sufficed. Augustacitizen, I agree about the inquirer but they would have posted a better picture.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/07/11 - 07:57 am
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She shoulda just cleaned out

She shoulda just cleaned out the bank account and stepped.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 07/07/11 - 08:07 am
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Good one,Patty P.

Good one,Patty P.

scorehouse
196
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scorehouse 07/07/11 - 08:52 am
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i'd like to no more about the
Unpublished

i'd like to no more about the loan. how much money was involved? rancho santa fe and fort lauderdale are 2 of the nicest, mosy expensive places to live in the US where money is not an issue. if neither of them lived in harlem, why was the civil case heard in columbia county? does anyone remember these sisters?

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 07/07/11 - 09:01 am
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I knew this woman very well

I knew this woman very well back in the 70's early 80's; having dated her, and worked with her for a few years. She was one of the most pleasant and sweetest people I knew. To say I am shocked beyond imagination is an understatement. I know her mother and father and a couple of siblings, but haven't seen any of them since about '85.
God only knows what demons drive people to things like this; if one had told me this was in her future I would have bet the 401K they were wrong.
Still in shock, and sad for everyone involved.

urright
465
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urright 07/07/11 - 09:09 am
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I'm sure it was self-defense

I'm sure it was self-defense (that's what I'd claim) and that she only tried to throw his body out to sea to give him the speedy burial he requested.

Of course they are going to bring up where she went to school--it shows more of a connection that just "former resident."

If it were a man who killed a woman, there would be no empathy or compassion. That's nuts.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 07/07/11 - 09:18 am
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Urright, you are msitaken

Urright, you are msitaken about the empathy part, at least speaking for myself. If this had happened with a former male co-worker I would feel exactly the same way. It strikes you differently when it is someone you know well and the behavior is so contrary to how you knew them to be.

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 07/07/11 - 09:55 am
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I still think it's an

I still think it's an unnecessary slam of Harlem High School. I bet if there were a way to know, we would find out many crimes and murders have been committed by those who graduated from local high schools in other areas. But if the high school is significant, why not identify the former school of every criminal arrested, including those in the CSRA?

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/07/11 - 10:10 am
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Riverman...I guess from a

Riverman...I guess from a journalism perspective, it's a good story...the only way to link her to the Augusta area after 20 years was to name her as a local graduate.

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 07/07/11 - 10:19 am
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I'd simply say Columbia

I'd simply say Columbia County native. Possibly down in the article you could mention she attended county schools, but to have a headline saying "Harlem graduate accused of Florida murder" seems off target. I understand why they did it, to create an interest in her, but it wasn't good journalism in my humble opinion.

Iwannakno
1533
Points
Iwannakno 07/07/11 - 10:19 am
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She should get the death
Unpublished

She should get the death penalty and welcome back River...don't always agree with you but you are always civil in your arguments. It was boring without you...ok not that boring but never the less lol welcome back!!

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 07/07/11 - 10:23 am
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Hey, I wannako...thanks..I

Hey, I wannako...thanks..I think :). If she is convicted and executed will the article say "Harlem High School Graduate Executed"? Let's get the elementary school she attended in on this, too. Make those little kids feel bad.

Patty-P
3516
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Patty-P 07/07/11 - 10:25 am
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Riverman...you're right.

Riverman...you're right.

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 07/07/11 - 10:32 am
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maybe they can let her share
Unpublished

maybe they can let her share a cell with scott dean...that ought to change his hair color

Riverman1
82450
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Riverman1 07/07/11 - 10:35 am
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I don't even want to know

I don't even want to know where Scott Dean with to high school (although I think I know) because I don't want it to show up in print. They really should change the title of this article at least.

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