A man from Upstate New York has been found guilty of murder after shooting his estranged wife dead and dumping her body in the trash last year.
It took an Oneida County jury about 90 minutes to convict Jason D’Avolio, 47, of second-degree murder and concealment of a human corpse, bringing to a close a three-week trial that included testimony from dozens of witnesses.
The defense had claimed that his 32-year-old estranged wife Kerrilee D’Avolio, had shot herself in the back of the head using a long rifle while in the throes of deep depression.
Jurors returned the guilty verdicts just minutes after requesting to re-examine the weapon.
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Jason D’Avolio, 47, was convicted on Thursday of second-degree murder and concealment of a human corpse for the July 2019 killing of his estranged wife
D’Avolio was arrested after leading police to Kerrilee D’Avolio’s body in an Upstate New York landfill. The mom-of-three (right) died of a rifle blast to the back of the head
A prosecutor is seen holding the long gun, which the defense claimed Kerrilee used to commit suicide by shooting herself in the back of the head
After the guilty verdict, Kerrilee’s family, including her mother, Hope Wagner (second right) thanked prosecutors for their work on the case
The body of Kerrilee D’Avolio, a mom-of-three, was discovered in Oneida County Landfill, in Ava, New York, the morning of July 30, 2019.
Jason was said to have told investigators that he did not kill Kerrilee, that she killed herself, and that he just disposed of her body by putting it in a dumpster. He also got rid of the purported suicide weapon by throwing it into a canal.
After the verdict, Jason’s defense lawyer Leland McCormac talked about the challenge of convincing the jury of his client’s version of events, reported WKTV.
‘I think we tried to show that that was possible, but was it likely? Was it probable?’ he said. ‘And I pointed out that everything that’s been done, has been done a first time at some point.’
The prosecution argued that D’Avolio killed his estranged wife in order to avoid a costly legal battle over the custody of their children
Prosecutor Michael Coluzza argued during the trial that Jason wanted to get rid of his estranged wife, in part because he wished to avoid a costly legal battle over the custody of his three daughters.
‘In the end, I think he saw her as an object that was in his way and he made that decision to eliminate the object from his path and it was driven by jealousy, rage but also by practicality,’ Coluzza said after the hearing.
Kerrilee’s family were in court on Thursday to hear the verdict and later thanked prosecutors for their work on the case.
‘They put their heart into it, they took on Kerri’s case personally, and they became an extension of our family,’ Hope Wagner, the victim’s mother, said through tears.
Jason D’Avolio faces 25 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on January 12, 2012.
D’Avolio told police he found his wife dead in a bedroom at their Rome, New York, home (pictured) between July 28-29, 2019
The husband admitted to wrapping Kerrilee’s body in a sheet and throwing it in the trash. The woman’s remains were later found in Oneida County Landfill, in Ava, New York
The gun used in the killing was fished out of Rome’s Barge Canal
Kerrilee was last seen alive on the evening of July 27, 2019, but it wasn’t until the morning of July 29 that police were notified about her possible homicide.
Police said that Jason’s brother called 911 at about 11am that day, after Jason arrived at his auto shop with the D’Avolio’s three children, ages two, four and five, in tow. According to police, the brother said that Jason told him about what happened, leading to Jason’s arrest, the Rome Sentinel reported.
Authorities said Kerrilee was shot with a rifle on the second floor of her home in Rome either late in the night on July 28 or early in the morning on July 29.
When questioned by police, Jason told them he found his wife dead from a gunshot wound to the back of the head, wrapped her in a sheet, then placed her body in a dumpster. He also admitted to throwing the gun involved in her death into a canal, reported Spectrum Local News.
Police assisted by Jason found the dumpster containing Kerrilee’s body at the county landfill and a rifle in Rome’s Barge Canal the morning of July 30.