Originally published in Newsday on May 23, 1992.
A high school senior from Merrick who Nassau police say was "obsessed" with her married lover has confessed to shooting the Massapequa man's wife in the doorway of their home Tuesday after he attempted to end their affair, authorities said.
"[Fisher] wanted him, and he didn't want her anymore," Nassau Homicide Det. Sgt. Daniel Severin said yesterday in announcing the girl's arrest. "If she couldn't have him, no one else could. She was obsessed with him. It was a near fatal attraction."
The 37-year-old woman was shot in the right side of her head after she answered her door on Adam Road West. Doctors had told police that the wounded woman was expected to die, but she rallied and was able to describe her attacker. She was in critical but stable condition last night at the Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow.
Fisher, who is supposed to graduate June 28, confessed to the shooting, Assistant District Attorney Fred Klein said at Fisher's arraignment yesterday in First District Court, Hempstead.
"Your honor, we have a very strong case," Klein said. "We can prove she purchased the gun, was driven to that location, rang the doorbell and with a .25-caliber automatic handgun shot the victim and left her on the doorstep to die . . . She then disposed of the gun and clothing that was bloody . . . and attempted an alibi."
Severin said the break in the case came on Wednesday when Mary Josephine Buttafuoco, a homemaker and mother of two, made what her doctors described as a "miraculous recovery" and was able to give police a description of her assailant.
"And then the husband, with his cooperation, filled in the blanks" and identified Fisher, Severin said.
Severin said the victim was unaware of the affair, but Fisher's parents were aware of it. Severin said Joseph Buttafuoco was unaware of Fisher's plan to kill his wife.
Police declined to comment about the person who drove Fisher to the Buttafuoco home on Tuesday, saying only that more arrests are expected.
During her arraignment, the petite teenager with long auburn hair, wearing shorts and a T-shirt, seemed out of place among the other prisoners in the courtroom detention area. She sat in a corner and wept. Her case was the last to be called for the day.
Fisher pleaded not guilty to second-degree attempted murder and criminal use of a firearm: a .25-cal. automatic pistol.
With her parents, Elliot and Roseanne Fisher of 2092 Berkley Lane, standing a few feet behind her embracing one another, Fisher bowed her head as the prosecutor told District Court Judge Bruce Alpert that Fisher had admitted to the crime in a written statement to detectives.
In requesting low bail, defense attorney Christine Edwards-Neumann told the judge that Fisher lives with her parents, who own a business in Freeport - Stitch and Sew upholstery shop - and that she had never been in trouble with the law before.
But Klein, trying to make a point that Fisher's parents had no control over her, told the judge that Fisher previously ran away from home. In a February, 1991, missing person's report, her father described her as "totally uncontrollable," Klein said.
Fisher, who had told authorities she planned to enter Nassau Community College in the fall, was ordered held without bail. The judge granted a defense motion to keep her in protective custody. Fisher's parents and lawyer declined to comment outside the courtroom.
According to police, Fisher met Joseph Buttafuoco in late 1990 when she accompanied her parents to Buttafuoco's family-owned business in Baldwin - Complete Auto Body - because their car needed work. A sexual relationship began about a year ago, and the two would meet in motels and other locations on the South Shore.
Mary Josephine Buttafuoco was shot at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at her home, which overlooks the Massapequa Grand Canal and is located in an upper middle-class neighborhood known as Biltmore Shores. Her son, 12, and daughter, 9, were at school at the time, and her husband was at work.
Neighbors reported seeing a dark-colored car with a male driver leaving the scene, but police were tight-lipped about the car.
Fisher was arrested Thursday night after police pulled over a dark-colored car she was driving - a 1990 Chrysler Le Baron convertible - on Merrick Road in Merrick, Severin said. He declined to say whether the Chrysler, which belongs to Fisher's parents, was the car used in the shooting.
A hospital spokeswoman said Mary Josephine Buttafuoco, who underwent eight hours of surgery Tuesday, was no longer in intensive care and is off a respirator. Paul Buttafuoco, 12, answered the phone at the family's home yesterday and said his father had no comment. "My mom is going to be okay. That's all I care about," Paul said. Officials at Complete Auto Body also declined to comment.
Severin said of Joseph Buttafuoco: "Obviously he is quite upset about what happened to his wife and is remorseful about what led to the incident."
Fred Cohen, the principal at Kennedy, who is a neighbor of the Buttafuocos, yesterday said that he was "shocked" but that Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District policy forbids him from talking about cases in which students have been arrested.
Fisher was described by school employees as a "sort of unremarkable student" who didn't belong to any clubs or sports teams. One said, "She wasn't a loner. She had a group of friends."
Neighbors of the Buttafuocos said they were relieved to know the case had been solved. One neighbor, Thomas Clauss, said he was "appalled . . . This has always been a quiet neighborhood."
He added that he didn't know the couple well but that they seemed friendly, and he would run into them now and then at the Biltmore Beach Club down the street. "Whenever I see them around the club, they're as happy as two pigs in mud," he said. "I've never seen them argue."
Maureen Fan and Michael Alexander contributed to this story.