State report notes a 10 percent hike in slayings by family members
On Friday, with their young children at his parents’ house, the 51-year-old Saratoga County man strangled his wife, also 51, and then killed himself with a shotgun, according to police. His father discovered the bodies in the couple’s home on Military Road when he stopped by to pick up clothes for the Monacchios’ daughter, 11, and son, 15, Cynthia’s sister said.
“It’s the epitome of the word ‘tragedy,'” Patricia Voshell of Millington, Md., said Monday in a phone interview. “Their marriage was over. It was done, and my sister was ready to move on.”
Voshell spoke on the same day the state Division of Criminal Justice Services released a report showing that the number of household homicides committed by family members in New York rose 10 percent to 144 in 2010. They were among 862 homicides in the state, up from 782 in 2009, according to the report.
Police on Monday blamed “marital problems” for the horrific violence. An autopsy concluded that her husband choked his wife before shooting himself.
The Monacchios were married 15 years, and moved to Saratoga County several years ago, Voshnell said. Cynthia Monacchio grew up in Millington, Md., and attended college in Delaware. She worked as a bookkeeper for a recycling company, and her husband worked at a Target store, Voshnell said.
Voshnell suspects an argument may have sparked a moment of lethal anger. Robert Monacchio Jr. was not known as a violent person, she said, adding that they both loved their children but that their relationship was beyond repair.
“I’m angry at him for taking my sister from me, but I can’t say that I hate him,” Voshnell said. “They went at each other. It’s never black-and-white.”
“One or the other probably should have moved out, but they didn’t want to disrupt the kids,” Voshnell said. “Now, they are really disrupted.”
Friday’s murder-suicide marks at least the fourth incidence in five months of domestic violence fatalities. Last month, Douglas Cunningham, 52, shot his ex-wife, Kathleen Brados, 47, and then took his own life in their Lake George home. Also in July, Matthew Slocum, 23, fatally shot his mother, Lisa Coon Harrington, 44, stepfather Dan Harrington, 41, and stepbrother, Joshua O’Brien, 24, before setting their Washington County home ablaze, police said.
Last year in New York, homicides committed by intimate partners living together totaled 73, down 19 percent from the previous two years, according to the state’s 2010 Domestic Homicide Report. Women were at the greatest risk for violence at the hands of someone they knew: 62 of 141 — 44 percent — of the adult female homicide victims in the state in 2010 were killed by a partner, according to the report.
“Domestic violence is a serial crime,” said Sean Byrne, acting commissioner of the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. “We know who the offender is, who the victim is and where the crime is likely to occur, but we don’t know when.”
Joint funeral services for the couple are tentatively scheduled to be conducted in Day at the end of the week.