A man standing trial for the murder of his wife claims he was pushed over the edge by the stress of losing his job in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, his suspicion that she was cheating on him, and her alleged teasing. Florencio Garperio, 52, lost his job as a cook in September 2001, and according to police ultimately confessed to the killing. Defense attorney Dale Bennett said his client was “calm, cool, and collected” until he “erupted like a volcano.”
Bennett, who earlier sought a mental health evaluation for his client, is seeking the lesser charge of manslaughter, claiming Garperio was under severe emotional destress at the time of the killing.
“The fear of economic insecurity overcame him; his wife taunted him,” Bennett said. “She said, ‘Why don’t you get a job? You’re lazy.'”
Medical examiner William Goodhue testified today that Mercy Garperio suffered 22 stab wounds and a number of other injuries.
In preliminary hearings in October 2001, police affidavits noted that Garperio confessed to stabbing his wife, and that their 14-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter heard screaming and saw the aftermath of the attack.
Garperio had immigrated to the United States five years earlier, and he and his family had just moved into the Bannister Street house when he was laid off. His wife worked at the Foodland supermarket in Ala Moana Center.
Although Garperio was initially expected to testify, Bennett notified the court today that his client was invoking his fifth amendment privileges and rested the defense’s case. Closing arguments are expected Thursday.