WILKES-BARRE — Now 18, Eric Scott Montanari Jr. was only 17 when state police said he stabbed his grandmother to death.
But he pleaded not guilty while appearing before a Luzerne County judge Thursday.
Montanari, who’s been charged as an adult, is accused of killing Sandra Lee Montanari, 66, in her Weston home in Black Creek Township on March 16.
He’s facing a count of criminal homicide for her death, along with two counts each of aggravated and simple assault for the attacks on Sandra Montanari and a non-fatal attack on her son, Allen Steven Montanari, 43.
The teen entered a not guilty plea on all of the charges at his formal arraignment Thursday before Luzerne County Judge Joseph F. Sklarosky Jr.
Sklarosky tentatively set a trial date for Feb. 25, 2019. However, this date could easily change, as attorneys indicated the discovery process had not yet begun.
The judge indicated the court will issue a scheduling order to outline dates for future hearings.
After his arraignment, Montanari, of Weston, was sent back to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility, where he is currently being held without bail.
According to an affidavit, police were dispatched to Sandra Montanari’s home on Market Street just before 7 a.m. March 16 for reports of a woman having been stabbed. Dispatchers warned troopers of an active fight in the home.
Police and emergency crews found Sandra Montanari on the living room floor. She was lying on her side, covered in blood. Emergency personnel noted she had wounds on her left side, near her neck and clavicle. She died at the scene.
Her son Allen Montanari, who also lived there, had been with Eric Montanari at Eric’s house, drinking throughout the night, before they eventually returned to Sandra’s home.
While Allen was in the bathroom, he said he heard his mother yelling for him. He then saw Eric on top of Sandra. He pulled the younger man off the woman and they began fighting. Allen said he saw Eric holding a serrated knife with a green handle, which investigators later recovered.
Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan