Wednesday, May 23, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa man sentenced to 15 years in prison in wife's 2010 killing

TAMPA — With shackled, trembling hands, Richard Gigante clutched a wrinkled piece of paper as he tried to persuade a judge that he was a loving father and husband.

Gigante has maintained that he had nothing to do with the death of his wife, Megan McNally Gigante, whose decomposed body was found in the woods near Apollo Beach in May 2010.

But a jury didn't buy it, convicting him of manslaughter. On Friday, Gigante, 40, begged Hillsborough Circuit Judge Martha Cook for mercy.

"I live a healthy life with God by my side," Gigante said. "Today, I'm begging you to find it in your heart to be lenient on your sentencing … so I can still be a part of my children's life."

Instead, the hourlong hearing concluded with the judge's sentencing Gigante to 15 years, the maximum sentence.

Gigante reported his wife missing to Tampa police on May 31, 2010. He told detectives the couple had argued a few days earlier, before Megan left their home on W Jean Street and got into a white Cadillac Escalade with an unidentified man.

Hours later, Megan Gigante's body was found dumped off Adamsville Road in Gibsonton.

An autopsy revealed fractures of her thyroid cartilage, indicating strangulation. A forensic entomologist examined insect larvae found on the body, concluding that she had been dumped in the woods on May 26.

Gigante first told detectives that he had not been in the area where his wife's body was found. He later said he had driven there to look for her and had stopped at a 7-Eleven at U.S. 41 and Apollo Beach Boulevard.

Detectives reviewed store surveillance video, but it didn't show Gigante. They also interviewed Megan Gigante's 9-year-old daughter. She identified a black tarp found near her mother's body as one that had covered a go-kart in the family's back yard.

Arrested on Feb. 3, 2011, on a second-degree murder charge, Gigante was convicted of manslaughter, a lesser charge.

"The jury also did not feel that Mr. Gigante is the cruel and heinous person being portrayed," assistant public defender Ann Dee Shane said. "You don't have a picture here of someone who is a monster."

Megan Gigante's mother, Margaret Raymond, whimpered as she told the judge about the difficulties of caring for her three grandchildren.

"By his actions, he has left them motherless and fatherless," she said. "It's very hard to wipe tears from my granddaughter's eyes when she says 'Grandma, I just want to become a butterfly so I can fly up to heaven and see mommy one last time."

Gigante's father, Richard Sr., the only attendee to appear on his son's behalf, asked for mercy.

The judge made no comment as she imposed the sentence. Raymond's whimpers turned to heavy sobs as she left the hearing flanked by more than 20 family members.

Outside, she embraced prosecutor Ronald Gale.

"Take good care of those kids," Gale whispered.

"I'll try," she said.

Dan Sullivan can be reached at (727) 893-8321 or [email protected]

Comments
Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

Rays journal: Could Sergio Romo be looking at pitching 3 straight games?

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays' pitching rotation for the weekend series against the Orioles could have a familiar look: Romo, Romo, Romo.Manager Kevin Cash said using veteran right-handed reliever Sergio Romo as the "opener" in all three upcoming g...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

Rookie’s error in 9th helps doom Rays against Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Willy Adames was so excited to be in the big leagues, even if was for just a three-day cameo callup. So thrilled to make a smashing debut with a homer on Tuesday. So proud to have his parents and sister fly in from the Dom...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightning’s season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay had its chances. Here are the best ones

TAMPA — Yanni Gourde said he will have to see a replay to know just how it got away, but even in a lopsided 4-0 loss like Wednesday night, he'll remember the puck in front of an empty net, and the missed opportunity that encapsulated a frustrat...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

Lightning-Capitals: A hurt that could last forever

TAMPA — This one stings. And it will ache for a long time. Maybe forever in these parts.Another chance for a Stanley Cup. Another disappointment. As the Lightning skated off the ice after losing Wednesday night's Game 7 of the Eastern Conferenc...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

TAMPA — Forget Vegas.The Lightning have left the building.No more season. No more watch parties. No more anything.There is no way around it. Jon Cooper's team couldn't finish, not in Game 7 at home, not in the Eastern Conference final...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region baseball: Leto ends state final four drought

TAMPA — It was the biggest game of Jakob Ryley's baseball career, and in the first inning of Wednesday's Class 7A region final against Melbourne, the senior right-hander was a little shaky.With two outs, Ryley walked two Bulldogs before a fly o...
Updated: 1 hour ago