A Lee’s Summit man accused of murdering his wife in Iowa will go on trial in October after a continuance was granted in the case.
Alexander Fazzino, 40, formerly of Boone, Iowa, faces one count of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Emily Fazzino, who died Jan. 29, 2012 after being found unresponsive on the floor of the couple’s home.
Fazzino’s address is listed in the 600 block of N.E. Lake Point Drive in Lee’s Summit. Fazzino moved back to the area to await trial after being released on $500,000 bond in April of 2013 said his attorney Bill Kutmus of Des Moines.
“He pleaded not guilty to the offense of murder,” Kutmus said June 9 in a telephone interview with the Journal. “He loved his wife and the children – and his children are with him. He’s devastated. It lingers. It’s a cloud over his head. It’s devastating to be charged with a serious crime like that. Anytime he comes to Iowa to have a hearing, the whole episode just surfaces again and it’s debilitating and that’s very understandable.”
According to the Des Moines Register, police found Emily Fazzino unresponsive and cold to the touch on the bathroom floor of the couple’s home in Boone in January 2012 after responding to a 911 call from Alexander Fazzino. Alexander Fazzino told investigators that his wife was addicted to painkillers and tried to kill herself by drowning, according to media reports.
An initial autopsy performed by the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Emily Fazzino died of undetermined causes despite noting that she had several areas of trauma to her head, including a large contusion on her forehead.
According to the Boone News Republican, the autopsy also revealed that Emily Fazzino did not report any signs of drug abuse and drug overdose was determined not to be the cause of death
An independent autopsy conducted by an expert in forensic pathology later revealed that Emily Fazzino’s death was caused by asphyxia due to neck compression and/or drowning. The pathologist in the case also ruled that multiple head contusions and multiple soft tissue contusions in the anterior of the neck are highly suggestive of a struggle prior to death, and therefore concluded that the manner of death is indicative of a homicide, according to the News Republican.
Media reports in Iowa also state that Emily Fazzino filed for divorce nearly a week prior to her death.
The continuance in the trial is the second since Fazzino’s arrest, according to the Des Moines Register. He was most recently scheduled to go to trial June 3, but the trial is now scheduled to begin Oct. 27 at the Winneshiek County Courthouse in Decorah, Iowa.
The Register also reported that the location of the trial has been moved twice since Fazzino’s arrest, ending up in a northeast corner of the state. Fazzino’s trial was first moved to Buchanan County and later moved to Winneshiek County.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors agreed that a fair trial for Fazzino would be difficult in Boone County, given the prominence of his late wife’s family in the community. Emily Fazzino is the daughter of Richard Beckwith, the former CEO and chairman of the board of grocery store chain Fareway Stores Inc.
Kutmus said the Beckwith family is well-established in Boone County, Iowa.
“I don’t know if you have heard of the Fareway Stores, but they are a huge chain of stores,” he said. “It’s a billion dollar company.”
Fazzino was arrested by Lee’s Summit Police in April of 2013 after a year-long investigation and extradited to Iowa to face the murder charge. Since being released on bond, Fazzino has returned to Lee’s Summit with his three children to await trial and take a job at a business owned by his father, Nick, Kutmus said.
If convicted of first-degree murder, Fazzino faces a mandatory life sentence in prison.