WILKES-BARRE — What’s his problem?
That’s what Luzerne County prosecutors want to know, according to a response they filed Friday regarding homicide suspect Vito Aiello’s intention to present a mental-infirmity defense.
“In this case, the notice contains the witness that defense intends to call as an expert to testify, but it is silent as to the nature and extent of the alleged infirmity and the period of time for which this defendant suffered from any alleged infirmity,” District Attorney Stefanie J. Salavantis and Assistant DA Frank McCabe wrote.
Aiello, 48, is accused of shooting his wife, Jane Aiello, inside their home on Andover Street, Wilkes-Barre, on Sept. 26. She died from gunshot wounds. Vito Aiello survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his face.
On Monday, defense attorney Demetrius W. Fannick filed a notice of mental infirmity defense on Aiello’s behalf.
As Salavantis and McCabe pointed out, Fannick’s notice indicates that the “nature, extent and duration of the infirmity is not known at this time,” yet Fannick also wrote that Montgomery County psychiatrist Dr. Robert Sadoff might be included as a witness for the defense.
Fannick’s notice went on to say that the defense would provide that information to the prosecution “as soon as the defense can adequately and accurately ascertain” the information.
Salavantis and McCabe replied that state Rules of Criminal Procedure require that the notice shall contain “specific available information as to the nature and extent of the alleged infirmity,” and the period of time that the defendant allegedly suffered from insanity or mental infirmity.
They stressed that Aiello’s notice is silent on those points.
Whatever their criticism of Fannick’s documentation, Salavantis and McCabe don’t seem to be taking any chances: the prosecutors went on to list the possible witnesses they themselves may call to rebut any mental infirmity defense.
Those prosecution witnesses include five psychiatrists: Drs. John S. O’Brien and Timothy J. Michals, both of Philadelphia; Bruce A. Wright, of Pittsburgh; Richard E. Fischbein, of Kingston; and Matthew Berger, of Moosic.
Jane Aiello filed for divorce in Luzerne County Court on Sept. 13. She also was seeking spousal support from her husband, owner of a local cleaning business.
Neighbors told The Times Leader last fall that Aiello was removed from the house by police on Sept. 23 when his wife was there retrieving belongings. They believed she returned three days later to get more clothes, thinking Aiello was at work.
Police were dispatched to the Aiello home at 389 Andover St. after Salvatore Aiello, 15, reported that his mother and father had been shot, according to an affidavit.
The teen told police he was upstairs playing video games when he heard his parents arguing, followed by his mother yelling, “call 911,” according to the affidavit. The teen went to the bedroom door to see his father standing over his mother, with a pistol in his right hand. He said he then saw his father shoot himself in the chin and drop to the floor.
Vito Aiello waived a preliminary hearing in November, and pleaded not guilty in March before county Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr.