Tuesday, February 20, 2018
News Roundup

Spring Hill woman charged with shooting husband as he slept reaches deal

BROOKSVILLE — A woman accused of fatally shooting her husband in the head as he lay sleeping on the couch of their Spring Hill home has reached a plea deal with prosecutors.

Karen Lyn Biraghi, 41, entered an open guilty plea last week to a lesser charge of second-degree murder. Biraghi had been charged with murder in the first degree after calling 911 on Christmas Eve 2011 to report that she had shot 31-year-old Alan Biraghi in the head.

Had she been convicted at trial, Biraghi faced a mandatory life sentence. The open plea to second-degree murder means she will serve a minimum of 25 years, but Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. could also levy a life term at the sentencing hearing, slated for March 28.

"After discussing it with law enforcement and the victim's mother, we felt this was an appropriate disposition," said Assistant State Attorney Pete Magrino.

Magrino previously said he did not pursue the death penalty because "the facts and circumstances do not rise to the level" of a capital murder case.

The state attorney's concession to a lesser charge is appreciated, said Biraghi's attorney, Larry C. Hoffman.

Hoffman tried unsuccessfully to get prosecutors to agree to a maximum cap on the sentence. He said he will ask Merritt to levy the minimum sentence, citing his client's litany of mental health issues.

"It's in the hands of the judge, and we're trusting him to make a wise decision based on what he's going to hear," Hoffman said.

According to a motion Hoffman filed in Hernando Circuit Court late last year, Biraghi suffers from bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She also abused alcohol, was dependent on other substances, suffers from bulimia and has a history of suicidal thoughts.

Hoffman plans to call a forensic psychologist to testify at the sentencing hearing. Biraghi will probably take the stand, too, he said.

"She has deep remorse," he said.

Court documents portray Biraghi as a lonely woman who sought affection elsewhere — and became increasingly angry and despondent — as her decade-long marriage turned cold.

When the couple married, Alan Biraghi adopted Karen's then-8-year-old daughter. The daughter would later tell investigators that her mother's first husband cheated on her with another man. She said her mother was so distrustful of Alan Biraghi that she activated parental controls on his cellphone so she could keep track of his calls.

They moved to a house on Greynolds Avenue in Spring Hill about three years before Alan's death. By 2010, records show, Karen was corresponding with men she met online, complaining that Alan didn't make her feel wanted. She sought to arrange meetings with the men.

By the summer of that year, records show, she was in the midst of an affair. It's unclear how long the affair lasted or when it ended. A week before the killing, records show, Biraghi had a sexual encounter with a neighbor.

Alan Biraghi worked at a Pasco County air-conditioning company, and both he and his wife delivered newspapers for what is now the Tampa Bay Times.

About a month before his death, Alan Biraghi and a co-worker struck up a friendship that quickly progressed, the woman told investigators. They decided he would move into her Spring Hill home on Dec. 26. Alan Biraghi got a second cellphone to keep the relationship secret.

On Dec. 20, Alan Biraghi admitted to his wife that there was more to the relationship than she knew.

The next morning, Karen Biraghi went to a pawnshop and placed a down payment on a .38-caliber handgun. She told investigators later that she bought the gun because her husband was mentally and verbally abusive and that he scared her.

About 3 a.m. Dec. 24, Alan Biraghi sent a text to the woman with whom he planned to move in, telling her he loved her. He finished his paper route, returned home and fell asleep on the couch.

While he slept, Karen Biraghi left the house, returned to the pawnshop and picked up the gun, records show. Authorities say she returned, found her husband's second cellphone and discovered the romantic text messages. She retrieved the gun from the bedroom and loaded it with six bullets.

In an interview with a Hernando sheriff's detective later that day, she said she held the gun and considered her next move.

"She said she knew if she shot Alan, he would die and her life would be over," the detective wrote in a report.

After about an hour, she said, she walked up to the couch, aimed the gun at the back of her husband's head and pulled the trigger.

When the 911 operator asked her why, she said: "Because I have been suffering years of mental and verbal abuse and I just felt like I've reached the end."

Tony Marrero can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes and @HernandoTimes.

Comments
Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

Bed bugs found in books at Brandon library branch

BRANDON — The unwelcome appearance of a lowly insect is forcing county officials to close the Brandon library branch for three days.No, not bookworms. Bed bugs.The county is bringing in a pest control company to inspect and treat the 25,000-square fo...
Updated: 8 minutes ago

Updated: 13 minutes ago
Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Age is a valued number for motocross rider Chad Reed

Chad Reed is set to break one of the most impressive records in motorsports, but it’s not the mark he wants most.The Dade City resident and native Australian has started 227 main events in the Monster Energy Supercross 450 cc series, tying former rid...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Man charged with killing wife who disappeared at sea

Man charged with killing wife who disappeared at sea

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A man who claimed his wife disappeared at sea when their boat collided with an unknown object near the Bahamas was charged Tuesday with killing her and intentionally trying to sink the vessel to cover his tracks.Lewis Bennett...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Goodman: The triumph of the ‘Perennials’

Goodman: The triumph of the ‘Perennials’

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School north of Fort Lauderdale in Parkland, a teacher, two coaches and 14 teenagers were living the American dream before they were targeted in what became our nation’s nightmare.There are no words to console a griev...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

Louisville must vacate 2013 basketball title, NCAA denies appeal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville must vacate its 2013 men’s basketball title following an NCAA appeals panel’s decision to uphold sanctions against the men’s program in the sex scandal case. The Cardinals will have to vacate 123 victories including the c...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Guess co-founder steps aside after allegations from Kate Upton

Associated PressNEW YORK — Guess Inc. says that co-founder Paul Marciano will give up his day-to-day responsibilities at the clothing company until a sexual misconduct investigation is completed. Model and actress Kate Upton told Time magazine earlie...
Updated: 1 hour ago
County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

County gives initial support to adding deputies at Hernando elementary schools

BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Commission on Tuesday informally supported adding as many as 10 school resource officers in county schools, including one for every elementary school, in an effort to bolster security in the wake of the deadly school...
Updated: 1 hour ago
She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

She drove drunk with a child in the backseat, deputies say. She said she ‘just got out of rehab’

A Miami woman is accused of driving intoxicated with a child in the back seat of her car — and she told a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy that she "just got out of rehab," according to arrest recordsStephanie Roque, 30, was traveling through Welli...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Neighbor stunned after woman, 71, raped in ‘safe’ Pasco neighborhood

Neighbor stunned after woman, 71, raped in ‘safe’ Pasco neighborhood

NEW PORT RICHEY— Iris Ramos couldn’t sleep Monday night.Ramos, 70, lives four doors down from a house at 7437 Heather St., where Pasco County deputies reported a home invasion and rape of a 71-year-old woman Monday morning. Ramos had helped the woman...
Updated: 2 hours ago