Wednesday, November 14, 2012
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- The husband did it.
That's what police are now saying about this summer's gruesome murder of schoolteacher Simeonette Mapes-Crupi inside her New Springville home.
Police arrested Jonathan Crupi, 30, early Tuesday morning at the Brooklyn home of his mother, where he'd been staying since the July 5 slaying. Police charged him with murder and criminal possession of a weapon.
"We knew it was him," said Ms. Mapes-Crupi's mother, Theresa Mapes. "It was too brutal of a crime for it to be anybody else."
Said Mrs. Mapes, "Right now, it's unbelievable. It's heart-wrenching. It's a long time coming. For me, it took forever. The detectives were awesome, the D.A. was awesome."
Over the past four months, Mrs. Mapes and other relatives said they have been speaking about Crupi in a kind of shorthand, saying that "evil killed her," or averring their desire to see the "monster" who murdered her brought to justice.
Now, Mrs. Mapes said, "I want his face and his parents' face all over the news. I've been very good for the past four months, and now I want everyone to know."
Police found the 29-year-old Ms. Mapes-Crupi face-down inside her 1446 Forest Hill Rd. condominium, stabbed 15 times, about 1:50 p.m., two days before what would have been the couple's fifth wedding anniversary.
Despite initial reports that she might have been slain in a home-invasion robbery gone awry, investigators turned up no evidence of forced entry.
Detectives quicky fastened on Jonathan Crupi, who reported finding the body, as a person of interest, though the NYPD did not formally name anyone as a suspect in the case.
He told police he'd gone to work -- he and his wife taught at the same high school in Brooklyn, The School for Classics: An Academy for Thinkers, Writers and Performers -- to run an errand, and found her upon his return home.
Crupi quickly hired a criminal defense attorney, Matthew Santamauro, to represent him.
Detectives, meanwhile, worked for weeks to find inconsistencies in his timeline, including interviewing the couple's colleagues and checking his cell phone records, according to NYPD sources.
Authorities were tight-lipped yesterday on what finally brought police from suspicion to arrest.
Relations between Crupi and his wife's side of the family grew frosty in the days following the killing -- Ms. Mapes-Crupi's uncle, Nick Liverani, recalled that the spouse was "unable to make eye contact" with other family members during the wake and funeral.
Liverani spoke bluntly about Crupi's actions, saying that the supposedly grieving husband had shown no visible emotion or anger. He would frequently brush off family members' questions and comments about the police investigation, at one point remarking, "I have to get on with my life," Liverani recounted.
"It was very odd. It was very weird," Liverani said.
At the wake, Liverani said, "We had people coming up to us, 'We're so sorry, but was that the husband?'"
He had also started using a disposable cell phone, Liverani said.
After the arrest, Liverani said, "I had a deep feeling that is was him, and this is going to prove that it is. ... This was a long time coming."
Another uncle, Frank Liverani, said he was feeling "mixed emotions" about the arrest -- happy that Crupi was in custody, but reflective and sad about Ms. Mapes-Crupi's death.
"She was a good person, and the world is not a better place without her," he said. "She was destined to do great things, and evil just took her."
Defense attorney Mario Gallucci, who is working alongside Santamauro to defend Crupi, said his client maintains his innocence.
"We don't have any information yet. We understand that he was arrested this morning. We look forward to seeing the charges," Gallucci said Tuesday. "He denies the allegation completely. He's cooperated with police to whatever extent they've asked him to cooperate."