Jury finds Taglianetti guilty

MAYVILLE – After hearing impassioned closing arguments from the defense and prosecution Friday, the jury found Anthony “Rob” Taglianetti II guilty of second-degree murder.

Taglianetti, accused of killing Keith Reed Jr., former Clymer Central School superintendent last September, watched stone-faced as the 12-person jury rendered its verdict after only three hours of deliberation.

“I’m very, very pleased,” said David Foley, Chautauqua County District Attorney. “As a district attorney, you want to try to deliver justice … and we were able to do it.”

Foley said that certain pieces of evidence were likely “pivotal” factors in the jury’s decision, namely Taglianetti’s threatening emails to Reed shortly before Reed’s death, and the blood stains on Taglianetti’s revolver.

Public Defender Nathaniel Barone, though admittedly disappointed in the verdict, said he will continue forward with the appeal process.

Taglianetti’s sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 24, 2014.

Outside the courtroom, a flurry of emotion was exhibited, as Reed’s mother and father, both teary-eyed, exchanged hugs with Reed’s older brother, Kevin, and three of Reed’s daughters.

“We’re happy about the verdict, but not satisfied,” Kevin Reed said. “We lost a son and a brother and a father-no one’s happy.”

The guilty verdict brings an end to a dramatic 10-day trial that seemingly rattled Chautauqua County Court with its cinematic-like story of sex, lies, betrayal and revenge.

According to the prosecution, Taglianetti became enraged after discovering an online affair between his wife, Mary, and Reed in August 2012. Driving 350 miles from his home in Woodbridge, Va., to Clymer, Taglianetti searched for Reed at Clymer Central School before allegedly murdering him at his home on Sept. 21, 2012.

Closing arguments recounted these events in detail, with both sides squabbling over the validity of prior evidence and witnesses.

Barone, in a two-hour long summation, admonished the prosecution’s case as “purely speculative” and based only on circumstantial evidence.

“No witness can tell you what actually happened on the night of Sept. 21, 2012,” Barone said. “(This case) is not about connecting dots or filling gaps. That’s not good enough.”

Barone honed in on Mary Taglianetti, in particular, claiming that her history of false statements and penchant to mislead others seriously compromised her credibility as a witness.

“How many times did (Mary Taglianetti) lie to us?” Barone asked the jury. “She is a master manipulator. This is who the prosecution wants (the jury) to believe.”

Barone insisted that all of Mary Taglianetti’s testimony be discounted, including her claim that she had no access to her email account after her husband discovered her online affair with Reed.

“Who’s really writing those (threatening) emails?” Barone asked.

Barone further argued that the jury not gloss over certain telling observations, such as the inconclusive DNA on the trigger of Taglianetti’s revolver and the uncertainty by a firearms expert that the bullet found during Reed’s autopsy came from Taglianetti’s revolver; all of which, according to Barone, provided a level of reasonable doubt.

Foley countered with a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation, arguing that the blood on Taglianetti’s revolver, the video footage of Taglianetti walking toward Reed’s office in Clymer Central School and the missing lightbulbs at Reed’s home showed that Taglianetti not only murdered Reed, but had an intent to kill.

Judge John T. Ward charged the jury with the case at approximately 1:30 p.m. The guilty verdict was rendered at approximately 4:30 p.m.

When asked about his reaction to the trial, Kevin Reed said, “It’s my fervent hope that Mr. Taglianetti has had his fifteen minutes of fame and be relegated to the ash heap of history.”

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