The prosecution intends to present ‘chilling’ and ‘compelling’ evidence in the East Rutherford man’s murder trial which began this month, while the defense will argue that the man’s years of drug addiction suspect are to blame.

Francis Tattoli is on trial for the murder and attempted kidnapping of Monet Thomas, 25, in December 2016, who lived in the building with her boyfriend and their dog.

Tattoli’s trial began Oct. 6, when Bergen County Assistant District Attorney David Malfitano and defense attorney Brian Neary made opening statements.

During his opening statement, Malfitano said that Thomas’ life ended with Tattoli’s hands around his neck. A bloody knife was also found at the scene.

“He attacked Monet, dragged her to her apartment, overpowered her, strangled her and left her body unresponsive on her kitchen floor,” Malfitano said.

The prosecutor said Thomas and her boyfriend were preparing to go to a Christmas party and she was attacked by Tattoli as she brought their dog, Meatball, home from a walk while her boyfriend was under the shower.

Tattoli allegedly stopped Thomas in the hallway and then tried to shove papers in her face as she tried to make her way back to the upstairs apartment. The moment she pulled out her cellphone was the moment Tattoli snapped, Malfitano said.

“He puts his hands around her neck and drags her to his apartment,” Malfitano said.

Malfitano said surveillance video shows the young woman kicking and thrashing as Thomas struggles against Tattoli for six minutes until his legs eventually stop moving except for one. occasional contraction.

“A minute later, [Tattoli] walks out of the apartment, covered in blood, drinking a Coca-Cola,” Malfitano said.

The prosecutor said Thomas’ dog was in the hallway throughout the attack, and he urged the jury to watch the ‘anxiety and fear’ on the dog’s face as he listens to what happens in the apartment. Malfitano also called Thomas’ attack premeditated.

Thomas’ boyfriend saw Meatball in the parking lot, and after bringing the dog inside, he discovered Thomas on the floor of Tattoli’s apartment. Malfitano said the boyfriend found Tattoli in his bedroom, hiding under his sheets.

The charges were raised from attempted murder to murder after Thomas died at Hackensack University Medical Center several days after the attack. Malfitano said the county medical examiner will testify to injuries inflicted in the attack, including a collapsed vein in his brain that caused brain death and multi-organ failure.

The Defense Argument

During his statement, Neary did not deny that Tattoli killed Thomas, but asked what his guilt was after years of drug use.

“We’re going to hear about Francis’ constant pattern of drugs in his life,” Neary said.

Neary added that the relationship between the trio went beyond being civilian neighbors, that Ferrante would call Tattoli a friend, and that he was aware of Tattoli’s drug use.

Neary said the blood that covered Tattoli was his own and argued that Tattoli’s behavior afterwards was not the behavior of someone who planned an attack.

“What I really want you to pay attention to, different from a horror movie, different from a Hitchcock thriller, is the behavior, his conduct over the next 20 to 30 minutes after those events,” Neary said.

He said the police had to sit him down, although Tattoli did not want to, Neary arguing that these were not the “activities of rational, premeditated murder”.

The defense lawyer said Tattoli did not try to hide that there had been a fight or to close the door to his apartment. Neary said that in an almost “childish” and “drugged” way, Tattoli enters the bedroom and hides under the covers.

“As you analyze this, as you talk and think about the circumstances behind his state of mind, what’s going on in his head,” Neary said. “Better yet, what’s on his mind.”

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According to Neary, the jury will hear Thomas’ boyfriend ask Tattoli what he had done and that he initially thought his neighbor was “finally” overdosing.

Neary said years of drug use is no excuse and that Tattoli will “suffer the consequences” for his actions, but asked how much he was legally guilty. He said witnesses, law enforcement and medical professionals would describe Tattoli’s behavior that night as not the actions of a rational mind, but as “grasped by the use of serious drugs”.

During his closing argument, Neary said there was no chemical or medical evidence showing that Tattoli was under the influence at the time of the murder, but that the behavior was the result of years of drug addiction.

The trial is expected to continue with Thomas’ boyfriend as the first prosecution witness on Wednesday.

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