Police: Woman buried firearm used in deadly shooting

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
Gambardella Gambardella -
Gambardella Gambardella -

HAZLETON — State police arrested a woman they allege buried a firearm used in a fatal shooting near a playground in Freeland nearly a year ago.

A .25 caliber pistol and ammunition were unearthed from behind the residence of Felicia Marie Catrone, 19, of 585 Cleveland St., on Tuesday, state police said.

Investigators learned Catrone allegedly buried the pistol after receiving a letter from an inmate.

Catrone was the driver of a vehicle that fled the scene after Brandon Joseph Gambardella, 19, of Hazleton, fatally shot Anthony Bonney, 17, during a botched drug deal in Freeland on June 18, 2018, court records say.

Gambardella intended to buy cocaine from Bonney but passed off a mixture of drywall shavings and baking soda. Gambardella allegedly shot Bonney as he ran from a playground.

After the fatal shooting, investigators allege Catrone buried the pistol and ammunition several inches deep under a tree behind her residence.

Investigators on April 22 received a handwritten letter from a state inmate whose name is not listed in arrest records filed against Catrone.

Shortly after Bonney was killed, the unnamed inmate claimed Gambardella was jailed with Eric Scott Montanari Jr., 19, at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility. Montanari subsequently pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for fatally stabbing his grandmother inside her Black Creek Township home on March 16, 2018. Montanari was sentenced to 15 to 30 years in state prison.

Catrone was in a relationship with Montanari, court records say.

The unnamed inmate claimed Gambardella gave the pistol to Catrone after Bonney was fatally shot, and the firearm was buried in her rear yard.

Investigators unearthed the firearm after executing a search warrant at Catrone’s residence.

Catrone was arraigned by District Judge Joseph Zola in Hazleton on charges of perjury, hindering apprehension, firearms not to be carried without a license and tampering with evidence. She was jailed at the county correctional facility for lack of $500,000 bail.

Gambardella is scheduled for a homicide trial Sept. 30 before county Judge Fred A. Pierantoni III.

Gambardella
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/web1_Brandon-Gambardella-06182018.jpgGambardella

Gambardella
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/web1_Felicia-Catrone-05142019.jpgGambardella

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]