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Attorney: Police beat man to get slaying confession

Suffolk County Police investigating the murder of Laura

Suffolk County Police investigating the murder of Laura Pizzini arrested Guenter Wende, 42, of Mastic. (Oct. 20, 2009) Photo Credit: SCPD

A Mastic man accused of killing a woman after she rejected his advances confessed only after police beat him, his attorney said Tuesday.

The police mug shot of Guenter Wende, 42, shows abrasions on his face, his attorney, Jason Bassett of Central Islip, said in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead. Bassett said the wounds were caused by police when they interrogated him after his arrest in October.

Wende is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Laura Pizzini, 25, of Mastic.

"This is a classic coerced confession. He was beaten and he was terrorized," Bassett said outside court following Wende's appearance before County Court Judge C. Randall Hinrichs. "He would have signed anything to get them to stop."

Prosecutors say Wende signed a nine-page confession and wrote a letter of apology to Pizzini's family following his arrest. Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux said Wende gave his confession voluntarily.

"He wrote in his own hand a confession that he addressed to Ms. Pizzini's family," Chalifoux said in court.

The police department declined to comment on Tuesday.

Bassett, who contends the confession should be thrown out, asked Hinrichs to hold a hearing on whether Wende's confession can be admitted into evidence at trial. Hinrichs adjourned the case until March 3.

Wende is being held without bail.

Prosecutors say Wende, a cabinetmaker, broke into Pizzini's apartment Oct. 14 and demanded that she date him, then stabbed her with a hunting knife after she rebuffed him. Police have said Wende and Pizzini dated the prior summer but Pizzini's family disputes that.

Pizzini, a garden nursery cashier, was found dead in her apartment Oct. 16 by a relative who went to check on her.

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