MAYVILLE – The evidence against Anthony “Rob” Taglianetti II piled up over seven days of testimony by prosecution witnesses.
Bank records, cellphone records, security videotape and, of course, the blood-stained revolver found under the seat in Taglianetti’s car, wrapped with a paper copy of a lurid email that prosecutors said sent Taglianetti into a jealous rage.
It was all enough for a Chautauqua County jury to decide Friday afternoon that Taglianetti was guilty of second-degree murder in the 2012 shooting of Clymer Central School Superintendent Keith L. Reed Jr.
No single piece of evidence or testimony outweighed others, but put together, they created a clear case that Taglianetti committed the crime, according to a juror who discussed the case with The News following verdict.
“The evidence more pointed to guilty than not guilty,” said Sean Sullivan, of Fredonia, who was Juror No. 9. “The evidence was just very overwhelming.”
The jury of five women and seven men deliberated for three hours before delivering the verdict.
Taglianetti, 43, did not react as jurors were polled individually. He shook hands with defense attorney Nathaniel L. Barone and was led away from the courtroom, as his father, Anthony R. Taglianetti, looked on.
Reed’s brother, Kevin, slapped his hands together when Chautauqua County Judge John T. Ward ordered Taglianetti to jail without bail.
Outside the courtroom, members of Reed’s family exchanged hugs, and Kevin Reed explained that his gesture was a way “of letting out my emotion.”
“I think I’m probably the only one in the family that hasn’t cried yet,” he said. “There’s no doubt that this man did it.”
The verdict brought to a close a lengthy trial that included exhaustive testimony from 46 witnesses over nine days. Jury selection began seven weeks ago, with lawyers sifting through hundreds of county residents before finding 12 jurors and four alternates.
Taglianetti, a former Marine corporal, was accused of driving seven hours from Woodbridge, Va., to shoot Reed, a divorced father of three daughters, once in the chest and twice in the back outside his rural Clymer home on Sept. 21, 2012. Reed’s body was found three days later in a hedgerow on the property.
Chautauqua County District Attorney David W. Foley said he would seek the maximum sentence, 25 years to life, at Taglianetti’s sentencing, which is scheduled for Feb. 24.
Barone said he was prepared to appeal the case, and his client maintained that he was innocent.
The shooting stunned the small farming community of Clymer in southern Chautauqua County, near the Pennsylvania border, where Reed, 51, was liked and well respected.
The trial continued to shock.
Revelations of marital infidelity, telephone sex and the text messaging of nude photographs emerged during the scintillating testimony of Taglianetti’s wife, Mary, a key prosecution witness.
Prosecutors said Taglianetti became enraged by the discovery of a sexually explicit email exchange between his wife and Reed. The two had had a brief tryst in 2010 and rekindled their long-distance romance online in the months before Reed was killed.
Taglianetti responded by emailing Reed directly with expletive-laden threats.
Taglianetti didn’t take the stand to testify, but prosecutors were able to use his own words against him in those emails to paint a picture of a man intent on doing harm.
“If you look at those, it really does show an escalating rage,” Foley said after the verdict. “Of course, I think the weapon wrapped with the email was pretty important, too.”
During his closing statement, Barone tried to cast doubt on the source of the threatening emails, arguing again, as he did in his opening, that Mary Taglianetti was a liar and “master manipulator” who had as much access to the email account as her husband did.
Barone relentlessly attacked the credibility of Mary Taglianetti, who turned police on to her husband as the prime suspect in Reed’s death.
“She will lie to get whatever she needs,” said Barone. “You can’t consider anything she told you. Absolutely nothing. She has zero credibility.”
Sullivan, the juror, credited Barone with presenting a strong case, but said he viewed the effort to discredit Mary Taglianetti as a diversionary tactic.
“A lot of the going after her was to take attention off of him (Rob Taglianetti),” said Sullivan.
Kevin Reed declined to comment when asked if Mary Taglianetti had any responsibility in the death of his brother.
“I’m going to keep that opinion to myself,” he said.
But he said his brother was a single man who had done nothing wrong in seeking a relationship with a woman.
When Keith Reed learned that Mary Taglianetti was still married, he emailed a message asking both her and her husband to cease email communication with him, Kevin Reed said.
Kevin Reed also was critical of the defense team’s attempts to introduce evidence besmirching Keith Reed’s reputation.
Before making their decision, jurors asked for two pieces of testimony to be read back to them. One was testimony of Mary Taglianetti’s email to Reed on Sept. 20 describing how her husband “packed up his metal detector and everything.”
The other testimony read back was from Chris Legters, a Reed neighbor who testified to seeing a gold Buick in Reed’s driveway at about 5 p.m. on the night Reed was killed.
Jurors also requested to look at a chart showing the DNA findings on the revolver found in Taglianetti’s car.
Taglianetti and Reed’s DNA on the gun “was a big thing,” said Sullivan.
“That wasn’t just a circumstantial thing,” he said. “It was hard evidence, I thought.”
Sullivan described the jurors as being very organized in their deliberations, but he said there was plenty of emotion in the room, as well.
“It was affecting all of us,” he said. “A lot of us were getting very emotional, to the point of almost crying, because you’re deciding somebody’s fate.”