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Husband Kills Wife in Divorce Attorney’s Office, Then Shoots Self

June 21, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ A heartbroken husband shot and killed his estranged wife Tuesday in their divorce attorney’s office, then turned the gun on himself as the couple’s two young girls sat in the waiting room.

Jose Luis Martinez, 38, shot his wife Josephine, also 38, four times in the head with a .32-caliber revolver, threatened to shoot the attorney, then shot himself in the head, according to police and the attorney’s secretary.

Mrs. Martinez was declared dead at Jamaica Hospital.

Martinez was in extremely poor condition at the same hospital and will likely be declared brain dead after tests are completed Wednesday, said administrative nursing supervisor Robert Stewart.

The couple, who had been married since 1973, had come to the office of John J. Napolitano in Queens on Tuesday afternoon for an initial consultation about a divorce, according to Napolitano’s secretary, Susan Dasaro.

They went into the attorney’s office and closed the door, leaving their 8- year-old and 6-year-old girls in the reception area. ″The father told them to wait out here,″ Dasaro said.

″She said she no longer loved him; he said he loved her a great deal,″ Napolitano said afterward.

Napolitano said he served the divorce summons on Martinez and told him to get an attorney.

″Then he stood up, put his right hand behind his back and pulled out a gun,″ Napolitano said. ″She sat down, she pleaded for her life.″

He put the gun, identified by police as a .32-caliber, against her left temple and fired once.

Napolitano said Martinez then alternated between firing additional shots into Mrs. Martinez and threatening him, shoving the gun against Napolitano’s chest, head and mouth.

″He then said he was going to kill me and kill himself,″ Napolitano, 58, said. After about five minutes, Martinez put the gun to his face and shot himself.

″We heard the gunshots and at first we didn’t know what it was″ since the office is located near a busy intersection, Dasaro said. ″After the third one that I heard, we realized that it was coming from the office.

″We ran out and we dragged the little girls out.″

Dasaro said they waited outside the office on the street about 10 minutes before Napolitano emerged.

″I thought John was dead too,″ she said. ″Then he came out and he just shook his head.″

The girls ″did not witness the murder,″ she said, but were ″crying hysterically.″ One saw the bodies being carried out.

A 12-year-old son was not at the office at the time, said Officer Hugh Barry, a police spokesman. The children will probably be turned over to child welfare workers, he said.

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