American Monster is back on ID looking at the murder of Amanda Schmitt, who was shot dead at her home in Millcreek, near Erie, Pennsylvania.
The killer was her own husband, John Grazioli, and while he claimed he’d killed her by accident, the police believe he’d spent at least a month plotting Amanda’s death.
On March 8, 2018, Amanda was lying on her bed when she was shot in the back of her head. Grazioli argued that he was heavily intoxicated at the time and had shot his wife by accident. He said the pair had spent a long evening drinking alcohol and consuming drugs.
When charged with first-degree murder, he argued for diminished responsibility by claiming he was too drunk to know what he was doing. He said he had been handing Amanda the firearm as a gift for her birthday when it accidentally went off. Her birthday had not been for another month.
However, he was undone by his own detailed testimony of what occurred that night; the prosecutors argued it was too detailed for someone to be claiming they were so intoxicated.
At his trial in the spring of 2019, a jury decided that Grazioli was lying about what had happened and that he had deliberately murdered his wife.
Evidence mounted up against John Grazioli
Grazioli’s story was also undermined by his actions immediately after the murder. He had sent text messages from Amanda’s cellphone, implying that she was still alive. He also wrote a will, sent several letters, went to mass, and ate lunch at a restaurant.
Further damning evidence came to light when the jury learned that he’d also visited his ex-wife, Erica Grazioli, and told her that he’d planned to kill Amanda and himself. He did all this before telling the authorities about his wife’s death.
Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender told him that “no one was going to believe” his story. Brabender asked him to “come clean” and tell the court why he had committed the murder. When Grazioli refused, the judge sent him to prison for life.
More from American Monster
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on American Monster.
Robert Lee Yates was The Spokane Serial Killer who spread fear through sex workers in Washington state in the late 1990s when he killed at least 18 women. The military veteran is suspected of killing more people while he was posted abroad.
Donnie Rudd murdered his teenage bride, Noreen Kumeta, in 1973 and blamed it on a car crash. He got away with it for an incredible 45 years before the law finally caught up to him.
American Monster airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.
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