Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Guilty plea could mean 30-year term

NEW PORT RICHEY — Nicholas Altamuro pleaded guilty Wednesday to stabbing his ex-girlfriend 51 times one afternoon more than three years ago.

Altamuro, 49, of Holiday could get up to 30 years in prison for attempted murder, according to the plea deal.

Circuit Judge Thane Covert set sentencing for Nov. 26.

Donnalee Johnston, 51, had moved here from New Jersey to try to get away from him. Despite a restraining order he followed her.

On Aug. 24, 2005, Altamuro, shirtless and shaggy-haired, showed up at Johnston's pink-trimmed mobile home in New Port Richey. She dialed 911 before he even got inside. He attacked her in her bedroom on the floor by the TV and stabbed her with two steak knives in her hands, wrists, chest, neck and back.

The 911 tape of the still-open line is hard to listen to.

"I'm going to kill you!"


"Help me!"

In court, where Altamuro sat in his orange and white county jail jump suit with the other inmates, he looked at her too much, Johnston thought. On Wednesday, early in the hearing, he leaned back in his chair and stared.

Johnston stood with a victim's advocate from the Sheriff's Office and held hands. She wiped her eyes with tissues.

"I've been waiting for this," she whispered.

After the judge accepted Altamuro's guilty plea, Johnston stood in the hall outside the courtroom and said she still has nightmares. When she does, she calls the jail, where the workers know her voice.

They tell her he hasn't been released and he's still there. They tell her it's going to be okay.

Michael Kruse can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6244.

Guilty plea could mean 30-year term 10/22/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Warm, humid weekend ahead of big cool-down for Tampa Bay


    The weekend kicks off warm and dry on Friday across Tampa Bay with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s.

  2. U.S.-backed Syrian force declares victory over Islamic State in Raqqa


    BEIRUT — A U.S.-backed Syrian force declared victory over the Islamic State group in its former "capital" of Raqqa on Friday, declaring the northern Syrian city free of any extremist presence.

    This Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 frame grab made from drone video shows damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria two days after Syrian Democratic Forces said that military operations to oust the Islamic State group have ended and that their fighters have taken full control of the city. [Associated Press]
  3. Florida education news: Lawsuits, lawyers, school board pay and more


    IN COURT: A former Hillsborough County school district top administrator sues the School Board and its chief of staff, alleging board member corruption and …

    Hillsborough School Board member Susan Valdes is the subject of several allegations in a former employee's scathing lawsuit.
  4. Clearwater eyes hiring new downtown director within two months

    CLEARWATER — Now that the city director tasked with revitalizing downtown has resigned after his arrest on a battery charge during Oktoberfest, City Manager Bill Horne said the goal is to not leave the position vacant long.

    Clearwater Assistant City Manager  Micah Maxwell will oversee downtown until the city hires a replacement for Seth Taylor.
  5. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17


    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]