Guilty plea in Dubuque murder case - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Guilty plea in Dubuque murder case

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Walking into court chained and shackled, Michael Piantieri, 36, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of Beverly Puccio, 42.

"Did you act in malice or forethought in the strangling and causing the death of Beverly Puccio?" asked Judge Michael Shubatt.

"Yes," Piantieri replied.

Last December, the two met at Walnut Tap, a bar in Dubuque. They had some drinks, and according to court documents, went back to her place, and had sex.

Their encounter then turned deadly.

In court, Piantieri showed no emotion. "In Dubuque County Iowa, you strangled Beverly Puccio...did you do that?" asked Judge Shubatt.

"Yes," said Piantieri.

 He was also asked if he acted in malice and forethought in causing Puccio's death. He replied yes to the question.

During victim impact statements, Puccio's family told the court he deserves the ultimate punishment. "And even though this plea agreement has been set, I'm glad it's over, but I would rather see the death penalty for what you have brought forth," said Naomi Dague, Puccio's sister.

In jail-house garb, Puccio's husband who is serving time on unrelated charges, also took the stand. "I'm coming out of prison to nothing, instead of coming to my loving wife because you felt the need to take her life," said Joseph Puccio Jr.

Piantieri also pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness, his girlfriend whom he was harassing from jail about the case.

Judge Shubatt told him, the community will be better off without him. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He'll be eligible for parole after 35 years.

He also was sentenced to two more years for the tampering charge. 

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