A Queens man could spend the rest of his life behind bars after he brutally murdered his parents more than a year apart, prosecutors said.
“This was a heinous case of cold-blooded murder and the ultimate betrayal of family trust. The defendant was convicted of killing both his mother and his father. He viciously beat his mother and then forced her head below the surface of the water in a bathtub. In a separate attack, the defendant held a pillow against his father’s face as he laid in bed, suffocating him to death. These senseless, violent crimes more than justify the sentence imposed today by the court,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.
Gregory Cucchiara, 40, formerly of Bayside, Queens, was convicted last month of two counts of second-degree murder. He was sentenced Tuesday to 50 years to life in prison.
His sentence comes more than three years after the first killing was committed.
According to trial testimony, 66-year-old Giusepina Cucchiara, his mother, was found dead in the family’s 28th Avenue home on May 24, 2011, which she shared with her son and husband.
“She had been struck on the head with a perfume bottle and choked with the pearl necklace she wore before having her head forced below the water in the bathtub,” a statement from the district attorney’s office said. “Autopsy results showed the mother of two had died as a result of having her head submerged in water after blunt force trauma to the head.”
Following his wife’s death, Carmelo Cucchiara, 75, moved out of the family’s Bayside home, and went to live in the basement apartment of his daughter’s Astoria home. On August 21, 2012, she found him lying in bed with a pillow covering his face. His son was the last person to see him alive that previous evening during a visit to the apartment.
According to prosecutors, the elder Cucchiara also “had bruising on his forehead and his body was cold.” His cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation, and he had blunt force trauma to his head.
Cucchiara was arrested on November 13, 2012, after DNA evidence connected him to both crimes.