Killing Was Self-Defense, Hopatcong Man Claims
Guiseppe Tedesco, charged with fatally shooting Alyssa Ruggieri in 2010, claimed self-defense in court Monday.
A Hopatcong man accused of killing 22-year-old borough resident Alyssa Ruggieri in 2010 claimed self-defense in court on Monday, according to a report on NJ.com.
Giuseppe Tedesco is charged with murder, illegal possession of a weapon, and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose in Ruggieri’s March 27, 2010 death. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 30 years to life.
Tedesco's attorney, Anthony Iacullo, told the jury in Newton on Monday that Tedesco was defending himself when he shot and killed Ruggieri after she refused to celebrate his birthday with him, the report said.
Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Seana Pappas said Monday that any self-defesnse claims were "preposterous," and said Tedesco accidentally shot himself when Ruggieri tried to protect herself from him, according to the report.
In a January pre-trial conference hearing, Pappas said Tedesco and Ruggieri had exchanged text messages the night she died, during which Ruggiero refused to meet Tedesco and go out with him for his birthday.
Pappas said Tedesco drove to Ruggieri's Durban Avenue home when she refused to go out with him, and shot her six times, including twice in the face.
In the process, he also shot himself in the hand, and then left Ruggieri’s home and called his mother while he drove home.
Police were called to Tedesco’s home on Rapalyea Road on a report from his mother, Nicolette Reckhow, about the gun shot wound on his hand. Tedesco was then taken to the hospital.
The first witness on Monday was Ruggieri’s mother, Michelle Ruggieri, who said her daughter never had a "romantic thing" with Tedesco, and that they were only friends, the report said.
The trial on Monday was originally scheduled to start Oct. 30, but was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.
The Jury selection began Sept. 12, and took over a month to complete. The trial schedule runs through December, excepting Mondays and Fridays, and dates blocked out by Superior Court Judge N. Peter Conforti’s other court duties and other contingencies.
The trial was expected to resume Tuesday before Conforti.