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Life Sentence Sought for Gucci Wife

October 20, 1998

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ A prosecutor called on jurors Tuesday to convict the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci in the fashion scion’s murder, saying she arranged his shooting out of ``wounded pride.″

The prosecutor sought life prison terms for Gucci’s former wife, Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli, and four codefendants.

Life imprisonment is the harshest possible sentence in Italy, which does not have the death penalty.

Gucci _ who was gunned down in Milan in 1995 at the age of 46 _ was the grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded the fashion company known for its leather goods and double ``G″ logo. He was the last Gucci to have an interest in the company, selling out for $120 million in 1993, three years after the couple divorced.

His former wife, Reggiani Martinelli, 50, stands accused of setting the murder plot in motion to gain control of his multi-million-dollar estate. The couple had two daughters.

Prosecutor Carol Nocerino dismissed Reggiani Martinelli’s contention that she wasn’t fully in control of her senses following surgery for a brain tumor in 1992. He said that a year earlier, she asked a servant to find someone to kill Gucci.

``Her determination to have her husband killed grew over time and had nothing to do with a pathological condition,″ Nocerino said. ``It had to do with the wounded pride of a woman who was abandoned by her husband, whose advice on his business affairs was rejected, and who ultimately lost access to the empire that bore his name.″

On trial with Reggiani Martinelli are Pina Auriemma, a former confidante; Ivano Savioni, a hotel porter; pizzeria owner Orazio Cicala; and Benedetto Ceraulo, an auto mechanic who is accused of being the gunman.

Reggiani Martinelli is accused of paying $375,000 to have Gucci killed.

In completing two days of arguments before the jury of two judges and six civilians, Nocerino demanded convictions for premeditated murder and life terms for Reggiani Martinelli and her codefendants.

``It is not without emotion that I ask for ... life imprisonment,″ Nocerino said. ``But then I thought about the absurd death of Maurizio Gucci... I called up in my mind his figure falling ... half turning as though to see who was gunning him down.″

``Maurizio Gucci didn’t deserve to die that way,″ said Nocerino, calling the slaying a ``sad″ death that ended a dynasty.

Even though three defendants confessed _ Auriemma, Savioni and Cicala _ Nocerino said they didn’t deserve lesser sentences because they all protected the alleged gunman, Ceraulo. Ceraulo has declared he is innocent.

Closing arguments from the defense are expected to last into next week.

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