FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4)- What was supposed to be a day of opening statements Wednesday in the case of one of two men accused of killing and beheading a woman in 2007, quickly took a turn as the defendant pleaded no contest.
Six jurors and two alternates were in court to hear the case in the death of 41-year-old Lorraine Hatzakorzian, who prosecutors said was killed by 38-year-old Paul Truccio and another man, Robert Mackey. Hatzakorzian’s head was discovered floating in a canal off Alligator Alley in April 2007.
“As long as the court orders me competent, I am voluntarily pleading guilty,” he said. “I will not go to trial with this attorney. I will spend the rest of my life in jail. With a judge like you…”
Judge Lisa Porter stopped him in his tracks.
“Mr. Truccio, all it requires is a yes or no,” she said.
Truccio told Hatzakorzian’s family that he was going to enter a plea, and accepted the second degree murder plea. But even as he signed his plea, he still said he was innocent and complained about his lawyer.
“That is the worst lawyer in the history of the bar,” he said. “Thirty years so I don’t have to deal with him. You should go to church and light a candle for all his other crimes… for a charge I didn’t commit.”
Truccio complained that the cards were stacked against him – and he would not get a fair trial. The prosecutor called it a calculated stunt to get control. In the end, Truccio told the judge he was doing this on his own will, but clearly wanted it all to end.
“Is this what you want to do Mr. Truccio,” the judge asked.
“Yeah,” Truccio said.
“Are you sure?” the judge asked.
“Yeah,” he said.
“Because we got a jury waiting,” the judge said.
“Anything to get out of your courtroom, I’ll do,” Truccio said.
“The pleasure’s all mine Mr. Truccio,” the judge said.
The case against Truccio unfolded in Broward Circuit Court. On Tuesday, Truccio said he was in South Carolina at the time of Hatzakorzian’s death, who was killed in Florida.
But on Wednesday the trial ended before the jury heard a word of it.
Both men are, who are charged with second-degree murder, are accused of killing Hatzakorzian, dismembering her and dumping her head in a canal near mile marker 36 on Alligator Alley. Her body was discovered on April 28, 2007.
Both the suspects and Hatzakorzian are from New York.
Evidence at the scene revealed that the head was originally inside a plastic grocery bag when it was thrown into the canal. The bag with “Waldbaum’s Red Tag Reduction” displayed in red letters provided BSO homicide detectives with one of their first clues to help identify the victim. Waldbaum’s stores are only located in Long Island, New York.
According to the police report, BSO investigators got a break in the case on July 18, 2007 when Douglas Stein walked into the Port Orange Police Department and told a detective that two of his roommates, Truccio and Mackey, had bragged about murdering a white female and dumping her body parts in Florida.
Stein went on to provide other valuable details such as where the duo discarded the New York license plate taken off of the blue pick up truck Stein saw them cleaning with bleach and muriatic acid.
The vehicle they were driving, a 1988 Dodge Dakota pick-up truck bearing a New York tag was registered Hatzakorzian.
Investigators then discovered that Hatzakorzian was reported missing, and the Suffolk County Police report stated that she had last been seen leaving her home in the company of Truccio and Mackey.
Suffolk County detectives also learned that Hatzakorzian picked up a money order from Waldbaum’s grocery in Long Island on April 16 2007, five days before she was reported missing.
A search warrant was executed at the mens’ Port Orange residence, where tree trimming items, such as pole saws and chain saws, possibly used to dismember Hatzakorzian, were secured for evidence, the report stated.
That same day, members of the Volusia County Dive Team also recovered the New York tag from Rose Bay, where Stein said it would be found.
According to police, BSO homicide detectives took statement from other witnesses, including a Volusia County jail inmate, who said Trucchio discussed the murder with him, providing details not released to media.
On August 7 2007, BSO homicide detectives received DNA results positively identifying the human head as belonging to Hatzakorzian.
According to police, Hatzakorzian had left with Truccio and Mackey, and at some point there was a disagreement.
Hatzakorzian was bound, beaten unconscious, dismembered and her body parts disposed of. So far, only Lorraine’s head has been found.
Truccio will be sentenced to 30 years in Florida State Prison, with credit for time served since his 2007 arrest.
Mackey’s trial is expected to take place later this year.