After hearing six days of testimony, several hours of closing arguments and less than a day of deliberations, a Loudoun jury Tuesday found Marco Corletto guilty of second-degree murder.
Corletto, 43, was charged with first-degree murder and stabbing in the commission of a felony in the 2014 death of his estranged wife.
Leesburg Police Department say that Corletto repeatedly stabbed 31-year-old estranged wife Roxana Rico, inside the stairwell of a Clubhouse Drive apartment building on May 16, 2014. Rico was flown from the scene to at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she died.
Corletto was also airlifted that day to the hospital for treatment of self-inflicted stab wounds.
Corletto pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. He said on the stand Monday that it was Rico who first brandished the knife, and he grabbed it from her and stabbed her in self-defense.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Angela Vernail argued that Corletto had planned to kill Rico, and that the couple, who were separated and living apart, had frequent arguments over their two school-aged children. Vernail told the jury that the two had a “rocky relationship,” and that Corletto was obsessed with trying to keep the family together.
“It was an obsession that turned to rage and resulted in the premeditated murder of Roxana Rico,” Vernail said.
She stressed that 24 stab wounds were found on Rico’s body and said, “It’s the defendant’s intentional actions that resulted in Roxana’s death.” Vernail also reminded jurors during her closing arguments that a neighbor witnessed Corletto walk out of the apartment building, take a seat on a park bench and repeatedly stab himself.
His attorney, Loudoun County public defender Kelly King, told jurors that prosecutors did not bring forward any evidence to show that it was Corletto who brandished the knife. In fact, King stressed, it was Rico who exited her apartment to confront Corletto in the parking lot that afternoon.
“It’s clear she wasn’t afraid of him,” King said.
She noted that Corletto, who lived part of the time in New Jersey, frequently spent weekends sleeping on Rico’s couch, and described their relationship as having typical “ups and downs.”
King argued that the stabbing was not premeditated, pointing to a phone conversation Corletto had with his sister shortly after the incident where he said, “I lost it. I freaked out.”
“That’s not premeditation,” King told the jury. “That’s not someone with a sound mind who can sit and reflect and plan this act.”
The jury agreed, finding Corletto guilty of the reduced charge.
The jury was scheduled to return to court Wednesday morning to hear testimony and decide Corletto’s sentence. He faces five to 40 years in prison.