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Widow sues husband's employer

The widow of a Sarasota man killed by his secretary's husband in 1996 is suing Zephyrhills Spring Water Co. where the victim worked as a branch manager, saying the company ignored threats made by the jealous husband before the shooting.

Frank Strampello was gunned down in front of his 12-year-old daughter at their Sarasota home in January 1996. An attorney for Nancy Strampello filed a lawsuit Friday in Hillsborough Circuit Court against Great Spring Waters of America, Zephyrhills Spring Water's parent company, as well as regional manager Larry Pelleg and the man who shot Strampello five times in the chest, Rodney Maggiacomo of Tampa.

The suit says Maggiacomo, whose wife was Strampello's personal assistant in a Clearwater office, voiced concerns to Zephyrhills executives and employees for several months that his wife was having an affair with her boss. Maggiacomo sent threatening letters, the suit says, at least one of which warned that Zephyrhills should separate the two employees so that "no other steps need to be taken."

But the company was reluctant to break up a successful team, said Strampello's attorney, Christopher S. Knopik, a decision he said ultimately led to Frank Strampello's death.

"The law says that a corporation has a duty to take precautions against any danger it has helped to create," Knopik said. "Companies should take as much interest in the safety of their employees as they do in profits."

Maggiacomo surrendered to authorities on Jan. 10, 1996, two days after the shooting. He was later convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

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