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Gun Store Owner Charged After Killing Intruder Donn is cq

July 22, 1988

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ A gun store owner whose shop has been robbed twice recently was charged with murder for allegedly ambushing and killing an intruder, police said Thursday.

Donn DiBiasio, owner of D&B Antenna & Electronics and D-B Guns in Providence, was charged with murder Wednesday night after Wayne A. Costa, 23, was found shot to death in his store, said Lt. Paul LeBoeuf.

The would-be robber backed his car up to the store’s doors, smashed them open and entered the shop, police said. DiBiasio, who also serves as a Statehouse lobbyist for the Rhode Island State Rifle and Revolver Association, was in the store at the time.

He told police he grabbed a pistol and confronted the man. DiBiasio, 59, of Smithfield, R.I., told police that the intruder shouted obscene threats and came toward him, so he fired two shots.

Costa was struck in the neck and torso, police said, and pronounced dead at the scene by a state medical examiner.

DiBiasio was held overnight, then arraigned in Providence District Court Thursday and released on $1,000 personal recognizance, a court clerk said.

Early media reports indicated that DiBiasio shot the man in self-defense. But police and the attorney general’s office, who met early Thursday and decided to charge the man, painted a different picture.

DiBiasio was in his closed store when Costa entered at 10:30 p.m., and a cot was in the back of the store, police said.

The appearance that DiBiasio lay in wait for the intruder, and the fact that Costa was shot several times, led to the decision to charge DiBiasio, authorities said.

Attorney General James E. O’Neil, in a telephone interview from the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, said the question of self-defense is ″certainly a legitimate issue that surfaced.″

O’Neil said the case will be referred to a grand jury, which can clear DiBiasio of all charges if it feels he acted in self-defense or it can indict him on charges ranging up to first-degree murder.

DiBiasio’s store had been burglarized 10 days ago, and on Sunday seven handguns were stolen, LeBoeuf said. No arrests were made in those incidents.

John Bevilacqua, DiBiasio’s lawyer, said he believes his client was acting in self-defense and was not lying in wait for a burglar, but declined further comment.

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