Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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.

Spring Hill woman charged with shooting husband as he slept reaches deal 01/25/13 [Last modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 7:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Equifax CEO Richard Smith steps down amid hacking scandal

    Personal Finance

    The chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will retire, effective Tuesday, according to a statement by the company.

    Richard Smith, chief executive of Equifax, the troubled credit reporting agency that suffered a massive data breach that affected as many as 143 million people, will reportedly retire effective Tuesday.
[File photo: Joey Ivansco/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP]
  2. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption


    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    These file photos show, assistant basketball coaches Tony Bland, left, Chuck Person, center, and Lamont Richardson.  The three, along with assistant coach Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State, were identified in court papers and are among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP photo]
  3. Pinellas: It could cost $15 million to remove storm debris


    CLEARWATER--The removal and processing of debris from Hurricane Irma in unincorporated Pinellas County could cost an estimated $15 million.

    Pinellas County estimates it will take at least four weeks to remove debris from unincorporated areas.
  4. Bass Pro acquires Cabela's for $4 billion


    Bass Pro Shops has acquired competitor Cabela's for a reported $4 billion. Bass Pro indicated it is seeking to appeal to all "outdoor enthusiasts" with the move, roping in hunting customers from Cabela's.

    Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela's for $4 billion, Bass Pro announced Tuesday. | [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  5. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]