Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Wife tells court Edward Graziano threatened to kill her if she divorced him

LARGO — Debra Graziano wanted a divorce from her husband, Edward, in 2005, but she never followed through because "he told me that if I did he would kill me," she testified in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Her remarks came in an all-day court battle in the attempted-murder-for-hire case against Edward Graziano.

Graziano, 54, is accused of trying to hire a hit man to murder his wife for $1,100 in cash, a personal check for $1,000 and a gift card to Westshore Pizza for $13.06.

However, under questioning by defense attorney John Trevena on Tuesday, Debra Graziano acknowledged she had not filed for divorce during the more than a year that her husband has been in the Pinellas County Jail.

She said she hoped filing for divorce would be "my final legal hurdle this year" but said so far she has done nothing "aside from looking it up on LegalZoom."

The Grazianos' son, John Graziano, was severely injured in a car driven by Nick Bollea, the son of professional wrestler Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan.

Trevena has argued that the case should be dismissed, or failing that, that Sheriff's Office recordings of Graziano allegedly plotting the murder should be thrown out. Trevena says that Pinellas deputies went out of their jurisdiction to investigate a situation occurring primarily in Hillsborough County and that Graziano was entrapped. He also says a private investigator should not have acted as a confidential informer against Graziano, because Graziano hired the investigator and had a right to expect confidentiality.

Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said he called Debra Graziano as a witness to establish some of the financial motive in the case against her husband.

Trevena asked questions of Debra Graziano to gauge whether Edward Graziano was, as he put it, "someone who has a big mouth and likes to talk a lot, or has a serious criminal intent."

But Circuit Judge Timothy Peters declared those questions irrelevant.

Rosenwasser questioned sheriff's Detective Misty Manning, establishing that meetings and conversations about the alleged plot were in Pinellas County.

"The only reason they were going into Hillsborough County was because of John," Manning said of the Grazianos. John Graziano spent two years the James A. Haley VA Medical Enter in Hillsborough County.

Attorneys will return May 28 to set a date to finish the hearing.

Wife tells court Edward Graziano threatened to kill her if she divorced him 05/18/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 11:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Samantha Bee on Florida felonies

    State Roundup

    Comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Florida, where she says "retirees and democracy go to die," to shed light on how the state makes it difficult for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Samantha Bee hosts Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Bee portrayed some of Florida’s felonies as not so serious on her show.
  2. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year


    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  3. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'


    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. []
  4. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]
  5. What you need to know for Monday, May 29


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    In the weeks before Memorial Day, cemetery caretaker Gary Iles and the staff at Bay Pines National Cemetery are busy preparing the sprawling property for the annual ceremony honoring the fallen. Iles, an Army veteran who started out as a volunteer at Bay Pines, says working at the cemetery is a way for him to continue serving those who died for their country. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]