Florida man James “Jimmy” Scandirito Jr., 50, was sentenced on Friday to 15 years in prison for dismembering the body of his father James “Skip” Scandirito Sr., 74. He was credited for 439 days.
The defense convinced jurors in March that, yes, Scandirito Jr. cut up the victim’s body and hid it, but didn’t murder him.
“He made some terrible decisions–some criminal decisions–in this case, but murder is not one of them,” defense lawyer Elizabeth Ramsey said in opening statements at trial.
Prosecutors tried to show that Scandirito Jr. killed his dad to get at the older man’s money, and finance a well-to-do life style. The defense, however, said father and son were friends, and had grown closer since the passing of Skip’s wife Terri.
The pair were doing drugs together one night, when Jr. left the room, and returned to find his father unresponsive, they said. He suggested that perhaps his dad had done some cocaine. There actually wasn’t coke in his system. Nonetheless, the defense said there was marijuana, alcohol, Oxycontin, and hydrocodone in his body. They said there wasn’t anything strange about the way that the elderly Scandirito Sr. had actually died.
The victim’s niece Ellie Scandirito condemned Scandirito Jr.’s acquittal on the first-degree murder charge.
“All he had to do to be acquitted of a murder charge was hide the body parts of his own father,” she said in a statement after the trial. “The family is not okay with this. This is the 2nd family member we lost to homicide. The defense made a joke of this case.”
Ellie’s father, Richard Scandirito, was murdered in Detroit, Michigan in 1999.
Abuse of a dead human body is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Scandirito Jr.’s defense requested 24 months on drug offender probation or in-patient treatment, though they suggested he might spend 21 months in prison, according to court filings obtained by Law&Crime.
At the sentencing, the judge accepted that father and son indeed had a close relationship. There was no violence or threats.
“But nevertheless, if that relationship is truly a loving relationship, you don’t dismember your father,” said the judge.
Scandirito Jr. went to great lengths to hide his father’s body, and deceive loved ones and authorities about the location of the victim, said the judge. The judged deemed the defendant’s actions as “despicable.”
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]