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Woman Convicted of Murdering Husband She Called Abusive, Couch Potato

October 16, 1991

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ A woman who said she was often beaten by her domineering husband was convicted of shooting him to death while he slept and sentenced to life in prison.

Mary Grieco, 49, was sentenced Tuesday after a jury returned the verdict in the murder of Joseph Grieco of Boynton Beach. She would be eligible for parole in 25 years.

″I’m tired, and I’m sad,″ Mrs. Grieco’s attorney, Steve Malone, said after the verdict, adding that he will appeal.

″I think it’s a proper and just verdict under the circumstances,″ prosecutor Dale Buckner said. ″There’s not much else I can say.″

The jury deliberated 2 1/2 hours before convicting Mrs. Grieco of first- degree murder and conspiracy first-degree murder.

Melvin Steele, 19, a live-in friend of the family faces a trial on murder charges as does a daughter, Ann Grieco, 16.

″All for one and one for all, Mary Grieco, Ann Grieco and Melvin Steele, like three murderous musketeers, wanted Joe Grieco out of their lives,″ Buckner said during closing arguments Tuesday.

Witnesses testified that the mother, daughter and Steele talked for weeks about killing Grieco, complaining that he was miserable and domineering and watched too much television.

The three plotted to kill Grieco by lacing his wine and dinner with drugs and talked of booby-trapping his car, Buckner said. Nothing worked until someone walked into his bedroom in August 1990 and shot him once in the head.

Boynton Beach detectives learned about two weeks Joe Grieco’s cremation that what medical examiner’s ruled a suicide was actually murder.

Steele had bragged to friends that he shot Grieco, only to later tell police that Mrs. Grieco pulled the trigger, police said. When detectives questioned her, she admitted that she had planned on murdering her husband ″a long, long time ago.″

But Mrs. Grieco’s attorneys said it was Steele who shot Grieco at the constant urging of their daughter.

Malone said that during the victim’s 27-year marriage, he beat his wife and his six daughters. Three of his daughters testified on their mother’s behalf, saying the beatings that occurred almost daily raised welts and broke bones.

″Joe Grieco did awful, horrible, terrible things to his little girls and his wife,″ Malone said. ″For 27 years, Mary Grieco has suffered abuse, domination and ridicule at the hands of Joe Grieco.″

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