WILKES-BARRE — Vito J. Aiello shot his twice wife in the chest with a .357-caliber Magnum pistol Thursday night, then placed the gun to his chin and pulled the trigger once more, according to a police affidavit.
Jane Aiello, 47, would not survive her wounds. Her husband did, and Vito Aiello, 48, was arraigned on an open count of criminal homicide Monday afternoon as he lay recovering in a hospital bed.
In a proceeding conducted by teleconference, District Judge Rick Cronauer set bail for Aiello at $1 million.
Aiello’s arraignment was not open to the public, and officials at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township on Monday night maintained there was “no one here by that name.”
Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie J. Salavantis said earlier Monday that Aiello remained hospitalized at the facility and under guard. “He is still being watched over very closely by the hospital,” Salavantis said.
The couple would have been married 22 years on Saturday. But beset by marital difficulties, Jane Aiello filed for divorce in Luzerne County Court on Sept. 13, writing in her petition that the marriage had become “intolerable and life burdensome” and “irretrievably broken.” She also was seeking spousal support from her husband, owner of a local cleaning business.
According to the affidavit, police were dispatched to the Aiello home at 389 Andover St. just after 11 p.m. Thursday after Salvatore Aiello, 15, reported that his mother and father had been shot.
Police arrived to find a neighbor, Jeffery Nealon, trying to restrain Vito Aiello as he bled profusely from a gunshot wound to the chin. They found Jane Aiello upstairs, bleeding from her right side.
Both were taken to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, where Jane Aiello was pronounced dead at 11:43 p.m. Thursday. After an autopsy Saturday morning, forensic pathologist Gary Ross determined the manner of death was homicide, the cause of death multiple gunshot wounds.
Salvatore Aiello told police that he was upstairs playing video games Thursday night 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.
The teen said he ran outside to get help from Nealon, who told police they went back into the house together. Nealon said he encountered Vito Aiello walking down the stairs inside, holding the gun in his right hand and bleeding from the face. Nealon said he took the gun and restrained Aiello until police arrived.
Court records revealed Vito Aiello had a troubled history, including threats against a girlfriend during an extramarital affair in 2004. Aiello pleaded guilty to harassment, including terroristic threats and stalking, and was was sentenced to one year probation in that case, in which his wife contacted authorities out of fear he was on his way to Exeter to kill the woman. Jane Aiello later filed an involuntary mental-health commitment for her husband, “fearing that he was going to hurt someone along with himself,” according to court records.
Neighbors told the Times Leader last week that Aiello was removed from the house by police on Monday, Sept. 23 when his wife retrieved belongings. They believed she returned Thursday night to get more clothes, thinking he was at work.
Cronauer scheduled a preliminary hearing for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8.