Defense: James Scandirito Jr. ‘Panicked’ and Dismembered His Father, But Didn’t Murder Him

The legal team for James “Jimmy” Scandirito Jr. is sticking to their original argument for his retrial on first-degree murder. They suggest again that the defendant found his 74-year-old father James “Skip” Scandirito Sr. dead from a cardiac arrest on March 28, 2018 in the living room of his home. The two had been partying and there were illegal drugs at the scene. Junior “panicked,” dismembered his father’s body, and hid the remains.

“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 on Monday.

Prosecutors argue that Jimmy might have killed his father over money. They say that he cut up the body, hid the remains on a golf course and improperly accessed his father’s financial accounts.

Ramsey told jurors that the state has no evidence showing that father and son had a bad relationship before the death; they only have details from after the death. Skip and Jimmy loved each other, she said. They were “good friends.”

Ramsey said Skip passed away from a heart attack on March 28, 2018. Jimmy had been outside smoking a cigarette, found his dad in the living room and was unable to resuscitate him. Jimmy panicked because of what was also present, Ramsey said. There were legal and illegal drugs on a coffee table that had been knocked over, she said.

Both men has been using these drugs for hours, she said. Drugs and the Scandiritos date back quite a few years. Skip and his late wife Terri were previously known among friends for throwing drug-fueled parties. Jimmy picked up on their behavior.

The defendant, a law school graduate like his father, began selling drugs. Dad helped, Ramsey said. Skip made out-of-state trips to “acquire supply,” she said. He did have a pet peeve, however: Cigarettes. His wife Terri had passed away in 2017 from lung cancer. Accordingly, he didn’t allow smoking in the house. That’s why Jimmy was outside smoking when his father died.

Scandirito Jr.’s defense is set to argue that there’s nothing strange about his father’s death. The 74-year-old man’s health has deteriorated since his wife’s passing. Medical examiners determined that he died from an apparent cardiac arrest. There was marijuana, alcohol, Oxycontin, and hydrocodone in his system, Ramsey said. Jimmy believed at first that his father might have used cocaine as well, said the defense.

Ramsey said there’s no evidence to show that father and son disliked each other. Quite the opposite. They spent much of their time together: enjoying barbecues with friends, discussing politics, and texting each other often. They would play golf two or three times a week, said Ramsey.

Prosecutors said that Jr. improperly access Sr.’s financial accounts. This included a $1,400 transfer from his father’s account to his. There was nothing untoward about that, said Ramsey. Jimmy’s father had shared the account information with him and trusted him with it. None of the purchases made after Skip’s death showed evidence of murder, nor did it show that Jimmy purchased everyday items.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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