Double murder rap for banker after cops’ chance discovery
Enzo Pietropaolo now charged with killing his wife and dad after ballistics test throws up unsolved case
When ballistics tests came back on a gun that former banker Enzo Pietropaolo had allegedly used to kill his estranged wife, police inadvertently stumbled across key evidence in another unsolved murder.
Several months earlier, the same gun had been stolen in a robbery in which Pietropaolo’s father, Pasquale, was murdered.
Now, the former Bank of Athens treasurer has been charged with two counts of murder, as well as possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition, defeating the ends of justice, and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
Manuela, 53, was shot nine times at the family's home in Brackenhurst, Johannesburg, last November.
Pasquale was shot at his home in Rosettenville in March last year.
Pietropaolo’s trial was due to get under way this week in the high court in Johannesburg, but his new legal counsel, Louis Weinstein, applied on Wednesday for the trial date to be pushed back so he could familiarise himself with the case.
The application will he heard on Thursday.
The defence also reportedly tried to strike a deal by having Pietropaolo plead guilty to his wife’s murder in exchange for a 10-year sentence. The state rejected this.
Manuela’s family, who were at court, said they were frustrated by the delays.
“He keeps on changing lawyers and they always ask for postponements in order to familiarise themselves with the case,” Manuela’s sister, Serena Nicolaides, told Times Select.
The couple, who had been married for 40 years and separated for three years, have three sons aged 24, 37 and 40. “They had been separated for a while and were in a process of a divorce,” Nicolaides said.
She said the hardest thing about her sister’s murder was having to break the news to her 91-year-old mother.
She said Manuela had been a “peaceful, kind and loving person”.
Nicolaides said her sister’s sons were taking their mother’s death hard.
Pietropaolo is in custody after his bail application was turned down earlier this year. This followed a petition by Manuela’s family saying he was “a threat to not only his family, but also the community at large”.