James Scandirito Jr. stands trial in Palm Beach County, Florida for the alleged first-degree murder of his father James Scandirito Sr. This is a retrial. The first one ended in a mistrial after his public defender Elizabeth Ramsey faced medical issues.
Jurors will consider whether this death was a homicide. Both sides have agreed that the defendant cut up his father’s body and tried to hide it. The question is why.
Ramsey said in the first set of opening statements that Scandirito Sr. (a former judge) and his son were drinking and doing drugs. The 74-year-old father, who had a history of heart problems, passed away. Junior–fearing arrest on account of the drugs–panicked.
“He made some very poor choices in this case–Horrific choices, grisly choices–that he regrets,” she said according to The Macomb Daily. “Those poor decisions do not mean murder.”
That’s horrible enough. Authorities tell a more sinister story.
A friend reported Scandarito Sr. missing to the Boca Raton Police Department April 1, 2018, according to the probable cause affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. Junior told a story about last seeing his dad March 30, and getting a call from him the following day. Father, son, and the friend were supposed to hang out and watch a basketball game that night. Dad no-showed.
Police said that the older man was already dead. They determined that he was last known to be alive on March 28 at 12:47 p.m. Junior used dad’s debit card to purchase items from that time onward, they said. Items included “a handcart, cleaning supplies, duct tape, garbage bags and a mop,” cops said. Some of his father’s remains were found buried at a local golf course on April 4.
Prosecutors in the first trial said money was the motive. Scandarito Jr. tried to fraudulently withdraw $9,500 from an account in his father’s name, police said. Authorities claim Senior had $800,000 in “financial worth,” and junior was the sole beneficiary under dad’s accounts.
[Image via Palm Beach County Jail]