The Killer Beside Me on ID is examing the brutal 2011 kidnap and stabbing of retail store manager Antoinette Vendetti Bruce in Middletown, Connecticut, by former employee Zachary Lapelusa.
Vendetti Bruce and Lapelusa had previously been colleagues at the Christmas Tree Shops store in Orange CT. She had been the store manager, and Lapelusa was a colleague who was eventually fired for inappropriate behavior; however, his violent obsession with Vendetti Bruce didn’t end there.
Lapeulusa blamed Vendetti Bruce for his firing, which led to him stalking her for some time. When she was temporarily transferred to a store in Middletown, CT, Lapelusa tracked her whereabouts and decided to attack.
On March 29, 2011, Lapelusa confronted Vendetti Bruce in a hotel parking lot in Middletown, and he forced her into her car, where he began repeatedly stabbing his former boss.
Lapelusa then drove the car, with his kidnap victim lying on the backseat, to another nearby parking lot where he again stabbed Vendetti Bruce, this time, causing her death.
The medical examiner’s office stated that Vendetti Bruce had been stabbed between 50 and 90 times. Lapelusa then disposed of her body by placing it in a culvert pipe.
Witnesses saw Lapelusa kidnap Vendetti Bruce
Eyewitnesses had seen Lapelusa bundle Vendetti Bruce into her car and were able to give the cops a detailed description of the killer. Based on this information, the police were able to track him down, and he was arrested following a high-speed car chase and a foot chase.
In May 2013, Lapelusa agreed to plea guilty to murder. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, followed by a consecutive sentence of 20 years in prison for the crime of kidnapping.
He must serve at least 20 years of the life sentence before he is granted parole, and if granted, he must then begin serving the 20-year sentence for kidnapping.
More from The Killer Beside Me
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on The Killer Beside Me.
Alexander Kozak had a texting relationship with fellow mall worker Andre Farrington when he took offense to her for reasons not fully understood. In June 2015, he entered her place of work at an Iowa mall and shot her three times in the back. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Leesa Nascimento ran a flower shop in Sugar Land, Texas, when she discovered handyman Lorenza Sam was stealing from her. When she fired him, he responded by turning up at her home and shooting her dead. He then dumped her body in a lake.
The Killer Beside Me airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.