Criminal News
Curiosities from the world, criminal news

Elderly San Jose defendant in ‘Fitbit’ murder case dies in custody – The Mercury News

0 0

SAN JOSE — Anthony Aiello, a 91-year-old defendant charged with murdering his stepdaughter last year, died at at a local hospital Tuesday, realizing the worst fears of supporters, who had fought to get him out of a jail environment they argued was not equipped to care for an elderly inmate.

Anthony Aiello, 91, charged with murdering his stepdaughter in September 2018, died at a hospital while in jail custody on Sept. 10, 2019. (San Jose Police Dept.) 

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office confirmed that Aiello died at Valley Medical Center at 6:12 p.m. Tuesday.

Aiello had been transferred back and forth between the jail infirmary and a hospital at least a dozen times since he was first booked into the Main Jail in North San Jose a year ago, according to his daughter Annette Aiello and his defense attorney, Ed Caden. That in itself, they had argued, was reason for him to be given a compassionate release from jail pending his trial.

Caden and Annette Aiello had long worried that he would not survive to see his day in court.

“It’s deplorable,” Caden said.

The District Attorney’s Office is expected to formally dismiss the case against Aiello in light of his death.

“The case is over, but our thoughts remain with Ms. Navarra,” said Chief Trial Deputy Angela Bernhard, referring to Karen Navarra, the 67-year-old homicide victim.

In a previous statement about Aiello’s in-custody treatment, the Sheriff’s Office said he received “24/7 medical care” and that “the age of this inmate has not been a notable concern.” Aiello was indicted in August for the September 2018 slaying of Navarra at her San Jose home.

But Caden said the jail could not accommodate the medical and nutritional needs of someone like Aiello, he said, who suffered from worsening congestive heart failure and diabetes, and who since being jailed had became incontinent, dependent on a wheelchair and reliant on twice as many medications as before his incarceration.

Caden added that his client’s death only reinforces long-running concerns about the condition of the county’s jails, which are in the midst of instituting reforms in accordance with a federal consent decree that settled an inmate lawsuit filed by the Berkeley-based Prison Law Office. As the suit was being litigated, the quality of the jail’s medical treatment became a focus after the 2015 slaying of mentally ill inmate Michael Tyree by three jail deputies who were later convicted of murder.

The Sheriff’s Office and the county are currently being sued in federal court over the medical care of another murder defendant, who died from a heart condition that worsened while in the jail.

Prosecutors opposed any supervised release for Aiello on the grounds that Navarra’s death, which police said was staged to look like a suicide, indicated Aiello’s “level of violence and deception” and also made him a flight risk. Authorities say Navarra suffered numerous “chop wounds” to her head and upper body, her throat had been slit post-mortem, and a knife placed in her hand, to give the appearance that her injuries were self-inflicted. They also cited copious DNA and blood evidence.

Comments
Loading...