MAYVILLE – Prosecutors rested their murder case against Anthony “Rob” Taglianetti on Thursday after showing jurors that DNA from both Taglianetti and Keith L. Reed, the man he is accused of killing in 2012, was on the revolver allegedly used in the shooting.
Reed’s DNA was on the barrel and frame of the .357 Magnum handgun – a Taurus model 669 – while Taglianetti’s DNA was on the cylinder and extraction rod of the same revolver, according to testimony by forensic scientists from the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center in Albany.
The forensic experts said the probability the DNA material on the gun belonged to other individuals is less than one in 300 billion.
Taglianetti, 43, a former Marine corporal, is accused of driving 350 miles from his Woodbridge, Va., home to Clymer to kill Reed, after discovering sexually explicit emails between his wife, Mary, and the Clymer Central School Superintendent.
Reed, a 51-year-old divorced father of three daughters, had a brief affair with Mary Taglianetti in 2010, and their online and telephone romance was rekindled in the months leading up to his death.
Reed’s body was found Sept. 24, 2012, with three bullet wounds in a row of dense shrubs not far from his Clymer Sherman Road home.
U.S. marshals arrested Taglianetti Sept. 28, 2012, in a remote forest in Virginia, and investigators discovered the gun inside a case underneath the driver’s seat of Taglianetti’s gold Buick Century.
A crime scene specialist with the Prince William County Police Department in Manassas, Va., took swab samples of the case and gun, which were then sent to the crime lab in Albany, where forensic scientists Amanda Brinton and Theresa White conducted the DNA testing.
Prosecutors called more than 40 witnesses during seven days of testimony in the trial, which was adjourned until Wednesday by Chautauqua County Court Judge John T. Ward.
It is unclear who defense attorney Nathaniel Barone will call to the witness stand – or how many witnesses will testify on Taglianetti’s behalf.
The prosecution’s case concluded with a ballistics expert who said he could not determine whether the gun used to fire a .38 special bullet found in the sleeve of Reed’s shirt during an autopsy was the same Taurus revolver from Taglianetti’s car.
Firearms examiner and consultant Robert Freese, a former New York City police detective who contracts with the state Division of Criminal Justice, testified that he fired two laboratory stock .38 special cartridges with the revolver. He also shot one of the unspent .38 special cartridges found in the gun.
Freese shot the bullets into a water tank. He then analyzed them under a special microscope to see if their groove characteristics and patterns matched those found on the autopsy bullet.
There are similarities among the bullets, and the autopsy bullet is “consistent with” being fired from a Taurus revolver, said Freese.
But Freese said during Barone’s cross-examination that he did not derive “sufficient repeatable characteristics” from his tests to say for certain what type of gun fired the bullet found during the autopsy.
The autopsy bullet, he added, could have been fired from any of more than 100 models of handguns.