This is not the type of photo sitting that's typical for a 13 year old boy. Joseph Giacona III could hardly look more innocent. It's not quite the same as the annual school photo. The smile is missing. The hair is not quite combed. The eyes are distant. But, he does look like an eighth grader who should be dashing out on to a soccer field or goofing around with his buddies in the middle school hallway or listening to a teacher in the classroom. Instead he's accused of murder - of murdering his father.
He's not old enough to shave, but he is being prosecuted as an adult because of the seriousness of the crime. The only evidence being revealed by police and prosecutors comes in court papers which include statements Joseph or Joey Giacona made to police after he discovered his father bleeding on the couch in their home. They explain how Joey dialed 911 for help, but was afraid to go near his father. The statements are not written in Joey's hand, but he does initial or sign the first two with the sloppy hand writing of a middle school boy.
He did not sign the third statement. That's the one where Joey's mother Rachelle Rustici was present. It took place at 8:45 on the January night Joey's father was found barely alive. The State Police interviewed Joey in the juvenile interview room at Troop D headquarters in Oneida. Unlike his first interview Joey was now admitting that he returned his father's shotgun to the gun cabinet. This was the first his mother heard him say that and immediately stopped the interview at that time.
Tonight Rustici defended her son to our reporter Kevin Schenk saying the police were framing her son. She said he is only accused because police don't have another suspect in the death.
The court statements also include observations of local police who first responded to the scene in Vernon. They say Joey was in control of his emotions and guided them to the back door of the home. He asked about his dog. He went to a neighbors house while EMT's removed his dying father from the home. Joey's step mother mentioned to police that Joseph Giacona Jr. had a temper and when upset would suggest he was going to kill himself.
But, the autopsy showed this was not a suicide. Someone else pulled the trigger. Police are not talking motive. They are not revealing what else connects Joey to the murder. While he awaits further court action as an adult - he sits in a juvenile detention center.
He is not alone in our area in being accused of killing a parent. Timothy Ginochetti is in prison for killing his mother. Joseph Bissesi is accused of killing both parents and putting their remains in septic tank. There are other examples. But, none of them were in the seventh grade. None of them have a mug shot that has more in common with school picture day than an upcoming murder trial.
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