MAYVILLE - After discovering his wife was having an online affair, Anthony R. Taglianetti II drove 350 miles from Virginia to Clymer to kill the man at the other end of the Internet romance, according to Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley.
Public Defender Nathaniel Barone, in contrast, believes it was Taglianetti who was taken advantage of by his exploitative wife, who in addition to having multiple affairs with men, ran roughshod over Taglianetti, a family man at heart.
Foley and Barone presented their opening statements Tuesday morning, as the trial of Taglianetti began in earnest. Jurors are tasked with determining whether or not the 43-year-old, ex-Marine shot and killed former Clymer Central School superintendent, Keith Reed Jr., on Sept. 21, 2012.
Photo by Eric Tichy of the Corry Journal
Anthony R. Taglianetti listens to court proceedings on the first day of his murder trial Tuesday in Mayville.
"(Taglianetti) took matters into his own hands," Foley said. "We cannot condone the killing of a man based on his involvement with a married woman."
In his opening statement, Foley revealed that the .357 Magnum handgun found in Taglianetti's car was not only wrapped in a paper copy of an email between Reed and his wife, but also contained Reed's blood in its barrel.
Foley further reinforced the assertion that Taglianetti was looking for Reed at Clymer Central School on the morning of Sept. 21 by indicating that the school had captured him on its surveillance camera.
An ATM receipt from a Virginia bank was also found near Reed's body.
"This man committed murder over an email," Foley said, turning and pointing directly at the defendant. "This reaction cannot be tolerated."
Barone, in contrast, used his opening statement to paint Taglianetti in a far more gleaming light, touting his military service, his dedication to family and even referring to him by his middle and more personable name - Rob.
"Rob is a man of the community," Barone said. "He's a dedicated family man, husband and father."
The true villain, according to Barone, is Taglianetti's wife.
"(Mary) is a master manipulator," Barone said. "This isn't a story about an affair. It's a story about manipulation and exploitation."
Barone derided Taglianetti's wife for her lewd and unfaithful behavior, as evidenced by her sexually explicit texts and emails to Reed, even during a family vacation with her four kids.
Taglianetti's wife is also suspected of having another affair with a man from North Carolina.
"This isn't a love triangle gone bad," Barone said. "It's all about sex."
After opening statements, Foley called a number of Reed's friends, family, acquaintances and first responders to the witness stand - all in an effort to reach Judge John T. Ward's burden of proof for the jury, which is proving Taglianetti was the cause of Reed's death and whether he had an intent to kill.
According to Allison Reed, Keith Reed's 21-year-old daughter, her father had visited her in her SUNY Fredonia dorm room during the afternoon of Sept. 21.
"He was happy," Allison Reed said. "He acted normal."
Allison Reed's observation was in response to Barone's cross-examination, which tried to ascertain if her father was - in any way - preoccupied with Taglianetti, who had recently discovered the affair and had sent a number of angry emails to Keith Reed.
Christopher and Janess Legters, Reed's next-door neighbors, were home on the night of Sept. 21 and claimed they heard three gun shots in quick succession and closer in proximity to their rural home than usual.
Ed Bailey, Clymer Central School principal, said he was concerned when he saw both of Reed's cars in his driveway the morning of Sept. 22. Reed was scheduled to attend a superintendent's conference in Saratoga Springs.
Cynthia Johnson, owner of a pet boarding business, was also surprised when Reed did not bring in his dog before his trip.
Sara Alishauskas, a former Sherberne-Earlville Central School student, was also expecting to see Reed - her previous principal - after his conference. She received a blank text from his cellphone at approximately 9 p.m. the night of Sept. 21.
Reed's body was discovered by a Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office K-9 handler in a hedge row by his house more than two days later. He was found to be shot three times, once in the chest and twice in the back.
Throughout the proceedings, the clean-shaven and bespectacled Taglianetti was stoic and intently listening to the witnesses with no outward show of emotion.
The trial will continue today at 9:30 a.m.