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Bayside man receives 50 years for murdering his parents

By Philip Newman

A 40-year-old Bayside man has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for the murders of his parents—drowning his mother in a water-filled bathtub and then more than a year later fatally smothering his father in bed.

“This was a heinous case of cold-blooded murder and the ultimate betrayal of family trust,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “He viciously beat his mother, then forced her head underwater in a bathtub. Then the defendant held a pillow against his father’s face in bed, suffocating him.”

Gregory Cucciara, 40, formerly of 215-46 28th Ave. in Bayside, was convicted last month of two counts of second-degree murder after a three-week trial in which the defendant served as his own lawyer.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder called Cucciara a “demon seed” born into the wrong family when he handed up the sentence of 50 years to life.

“These senseless, violent crimes more than justify the sentence imposed today by the court,” the DA said.

According to trial testimony, Giusepina Cucciara, 66, was found dead in the family home on 28th Avenue in Bayside on May 24, 2011 She had been struck on the head with a perfume bottle and choked with the pearl necklace she wore before having her head submerged in the water-filled bathtub. She had suffered blunt force trauma to the head, prosecutors said.

Carmelo Cucciara, 75, moved out of the famiy’s Bayside home he had shared with his wife soon after her death and took up residence in a basement apartment in his daughter’s Astoria home, court records showed.

On Aug. 21, 2012 Cucciara’s only other child, his daughter, found him in bed with a pillow covering his face, prosecutors said. He had bruising on his forehead and his body was cold. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was asphyxiation.

The defendant had visited his father the previous evening and was the last person to see him alive, trial testimony revealed.

Brown said both victims had blunt force trauma to their heads before they were killed and DNA evidence under the fingernails of both victims was a match for their only son, Gregory Cucciara, prosecutors told the jury.

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