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Police: Wife shot ex-husband

Lorraine DiGiaimo was in her kitchen preparing sugar-dusted dessert dough when she said her former husband blurted a disparaging remark from his perch on the living room couch.

"You can't do anything right," Thomas J. DiGiaimo said.

She was infuriated. He kept criticizing the dessert.

Without uttering a word, she went to the master bedroom Tuesday night, unzipped a case in her dresser and took out a .38-caliber Colt revolver, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Next stop: the living room.

Grasping the gun with two hands, she fired five or six shots, hitting Thomas DiGiaimo at least four times, said sheriff's Maj. G. Z. Smith. As blood poured from gunshot wounds to his head, Lorraine DiGiaimo called 911 to report that she had shot her husband, authorities said.

Thomas DiGiaimo, 45, who worked for Hernando County, died at a Spring Hill hospital. Lorraine DiGiaimo, a 48-year-old nursing supervisor, was arrested, charged with first-degree murder and taken to Hernando County Jail, where she was being held without bail.

"The specific dispute was . . . over a thing that she had cooked that he didn't like," Smith said. "This was the spark that touched the whole thing off."

On Wednesday, family members huddled in the Hernando County home of Lorraine DiGiaimo's parents. In New Jersey, Thomas DiGiaimo's brother and other family members struggled to understand what happened. None of them wanted to talk.

Shocked neighbors spoke of a quiet, friendly man who was fond of toy trains, old automobiles and, most of all, his two daughters.

"I can't believe it," said neighbor Audrey Rudolph, 69. "In one moment, his life is gone, hers is ruined."

The couple's relationship seemed strong. After an amicable 1990 divorce, they were again living together at their light blue stucco home at 6073 Dorset Road, south of Cortez Boulevard off Deltona Boulevard.

"He was doing great," said Palm Harbor attorney Walter W. Blenner, who represented Thomas DiGiaimo during the divorce and recently spoke to him by phone. "He was back together with his ex-wife and things had been well for him."

Thomas DiGiaimo was glowing, friends said, about the accomplishments of his daughters, Claudia DiGiaimo, 23, and Giullietta DiGiaimo, 21. Both are attending school and one is in a medical program, said friends and neighbors.

The couple lived in a well- maintained neighborhood that is home to a mix of retirees and younger residents. Most said the neighborhood was punctuated by quiet _ except for the occasional screech of a parrot.

Sheriff's officials said they had responded to no previous complaints at the DiGiaimos. One neighbor, however, told authorities of loud arguments at the home.

Authorities said the shooting happened about 8:50 Tuesday night, amid a heavy dusting of white powdered sugar that Lorraine DiGiaimo had used to make zeppole, fried dough that tastes something like funnel cake.

According to a Sheriff's Office account:

Once the gun was fired, Lorraine DiGiaimo called 911 and said she shot her husband. When deputies arrived, they found Lorraine DiGiaimo at the front door, wearing a light pink pullover shirt and red-and-white striped apron. She wasn't wearing pants or shoes and had both hands raised above her head. She was crying and screaming, "Help me."

Thomas DiGiaimo was lying on the living room floor in front of the couch, where he had been watching television. He was breathing. There was blood around his head, on his chest and on the couch and a towel under his head. The revolver was under a wooden coffee table a few feet away.

Rescue workers arrived and took him to Columbia/HCA Oak Hill Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

After questioning Lorraine DiGiaimo, authorities arrested her on the first-degree murder charge after concluding that the attack had been premeditated, in part because of the number of shots fired.

In jail Wednesday morning, Lorraine DiGiaimo sobbed while holding a blanket over her long brown hair. Later, when she appeared before a county judge, she declined to make a statement.

Meanwhile, co-workers heard about their friend's death.

Donald Post, one of Thomas DiGiaimo's supervisors, said he was well liked because of his cheerful, outgoing demeanor. He worked as an attendant at county waste disposal facilities, where grieving employees were offered counseling.

Thomas DiGiaimo had worked for the county for about a year after working in Pasco County as an investment counselor and computer salesman. His inability to find a steady, fulfilling job since moving to Florida in the early 1980s was one of the factors that ended the DiGiaimos' 14-year marriage, according to Blenner, the attorney.

Though friends said Thomas DiGiaimo liked the county job, his happiness was tempered recently by the death of one of his best friends, Allan J. Modres, who was killed last month in Holiday when the car he was working under fell and crushed him.

Lorraine DiGiaimo has worked as a nursing supervisor at CareOne HomeCare, a Spring Hill operation that provides home health services. Employees there were stunned when told their co-worker had been charged with murder.

According to county employee records, Thomas DiGiaimo grew up in Pearl River, N.Y. He graduated high school, served in the Navy and took writing and philosophy classes at a community college, but did not earn a degree.

_ Staff writer Charles Hoskinson and researcher Beverly Bell contributed to this report.