A Centereach man who admitted that he murdered his wife last year and disposed of her body in the pine barrens of eastern Long Island was sentenced to 19 years in prison on Wednesday, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney.
Marcello Molinari, 44, stabbed his wife, Melissa, 58 times in November after he learned she was having an extramarital affair, Tierney’s office said in a statement.
“The sentence handed down in court today cannot possibly ameliorate the pain this defendant inflicted upon the victim and her family,” Tierney said. “However, this jail term can ensure that the defendant will be unable to further endanger the community for a substantial period of time.”
Molinari pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on May 20 and was sentenced in Riverhead on Wednesday by Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro. Molinari’s attorney, Christopher Gioe of Hauppauge, did not immediately return a call for comment.
Molinari and his wife were on vacation at Walt Disney World in Florida with their children, aged 4, 12, 14 and 17, when he learned that she was having an affair, according to court documents and Molinari’s own statements to investigators. The vacation was cut short and the family drove back to their home in Centereach on or about Nov. 5, Tierney said.
Melissa Molinari was last seen alive on Nov. 21 and was reported missing by a friend on Dec. 2.
Suffolk police investigators found “questionable stains” in the family’s minivan. A cadaver dog conducted a search of the van, which revealed a positive hit for a cadaver at two locations.
Molinari consented to a search of his cellphone, which revealed he had conducted searches using terms such as “non-extraditon countries” and “culpable.” Nine months of data had been deleted, Tierney said. Investigators also found that GPS coordinates on Molinari’s phone corresponded with a location on a dead end street in the pine barrens in the early hours of Nov. 22.
Molinari was arrested and cadaver dogs who searched the pine barrens location found his wife’s body wrapped in garbage bags and duct tape. An autopsy revealed that Melissa Molinari had been stabbed 58 times.