Girlfriend to testify despite terminal cancer
A woman who turned state's witness against a Glen Head native on trial for murder in Connecticut says she still wants to testify against him, even though she was just diagnosed with terminal cancer, her attorney said Saturday.
The defendant, Christopher DiMeo, has pleaded not guilty to murder in connection with the 2005 shooting deaths of husband-and-wife jewelers in Fairfield, Conn. His girlfriend, Nicole Pearce, who was also charged with murder, took a plea deal that calls for her to cooperate with the government. She is expected to be sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.
DiMeo, 29, is already serving a life prison sentence for the 2004 slaying of Glen Head jeweler Thomas Renison. He could face the death penalty for the Connecticut killings.
Pearce, 29, a native of California, was also an accomplice in the Nassau case and was sentenced to 20 years for her involvement. She is in Connecticut for the Fairfield trial and is hospitalized in Farmington.
The motive in both the Glen Head and Connecticut killings was money for heroin, prosecutors say.
Neither of DiMeo's defense attorneys, Michael Courtney and Jeffrey Hutcoe, immediately returned messages Saturday seeking comment, nor did the office of the prosecutor, Joseph Corradino.
Pearce's defense attorney, Robert Berke of Bridgeport, Conn., said his client found out about the inoperable cervical tumor about a week ago and told him she still wanted to testify.
"There's nothing that she can do to bring back the people that lost their lives in this event, but this is the little comfort that she can give the families," Berke told Newsday. "This is how she can pay back - to testify against her co-defendant."
In the Connecticut case, Pearce cased the store and mapped a diagram so DiMeo could do the robbery.
Depending on Pearce's condition, she could appear in Bridgeport Superior Court to testify, or she could answer questions via videotape, Berke said. She may testify as soon as Feb. 1.
Her doctor isn't sure how long Pearce has to live, Berke said, but said other medical personnel treating her estimate she has about six months.