Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2 Friends of Victim Testify in Husband's Murder Trial

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

2 Friends of Victim Testify in Husband's Murder Trial

Article excerpt

They were friends but not lovers of a woman who was slain, two men testified in Bryan Martinelli's murder trial. The men were describing their relationship with Martinelli's wife, Diane Martinelli, whose husband shot her in January 1995.

John D'Angelo, one of the witnesses, said a stranger showed up after closing time in January 1995 at his auto-repair shop in Florissant and said he was Bryan Martinelli, Diane Martinelli's husband. The visitor wanted to know about the relationship between D'Angelo and his wife.

"I told him we were never together in a sexual way," D'Angelo testified Friday at Bryan Martinelli's murder trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court. "I told him, `You call her fat, ugly, stupid and never give her any money for clothes. Be nice to her and maybe she will talk to you, too.' " Diane Martinelli, 34, died May 6, 1995, of a shotgun wound to her upper abdomen. Bryan Martinelli is accused of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He also is charged with 13 counts of illegal wiretaps for recording his wife's telephone conversations. D'Angelo and Brad Halford were key witnesses for the prosecution Friday. Both testified they had known Diane Martinelli's marriage was in trouble. Both had known Diane for years. Both denied having had a sexual affair with her. And both were caught in the middle of a marriage on the brink of disintegration. Prosecutor Ed McSweeney is contending that Bryan Martinelli was a jealous, controlling husband who carefully planned his wife's death beca use she intended to divorce him. Defense attorney Joel Hirschhorn says that her death was a tragic accident: that her husband accidentally triggered a shotgun while stumbling over a sleeping bag just as his wife walked into the living room of their home in Florissant. "I told him we (he and Diane Martinelli) had no relationship," D'Angelo said. "At the time, I was involved with someone else. The conversation was generally about Bryan and how Bryan always talked down to her. …

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