Fort Lauderdale Police Release Gruesome Details of Ronald Vinci's Murder

What started as "a suspicious death" after Ronald Vinci's duct-taped body was found in his Fort Lauderdale mansion now includes multiple stab wounds, a gunshot to the head, blunt-force fractures to his skull, and a large cut to his throat, according to details released by the cops yesterday.

According to an arrest affidavit for 54-year-old Catherine Pileggi -- Vinci's girlfriend, who was charged with first-degree murder in his death yesterday -- Pileggi killed him after blaming the death of her sister on Vinci while they were on vacation years ago.

Among Pileggi's plans, the cops say, was enlisting the family handyman to help get rid of Vinci's body.

According to police, Pileggi called the handyman at 1 a.m. on June 28, asking him to rent a U-Haul truck and meet her at Vinci's house at 101 SW Coconut Drive.

Around 8:30 a.m., she called the handyman again asking him to come to Vinci's home, which he finally did.

When the handyman showed up, Pileggi allegedly told the handyman that Vinci had died by falling down the stairs, and she said she wanted the handyman to help her honor Vinci's request of being buried at sea.

She showed the handyman to Vinci's body -- covered in bedding in plastic bags -- and also showed him a large blue plastic container Pileggi said "she had purchased for the task," police say.

The handyman gave Pileggi the old be-right-back line and booked it.

He then called one of Vinci's friends and told him what he believed he just saw.

Vinci's friend -- who had just seen Vinci alive and well the night before -- went to the house with the handyman and another mutual friend of Vinci's around noon that day.

The man asked Pileggi where Vinci was, and she said he had gone out with friends, the cops say.

That's when the handyman directed Vinci's friends to what he believed was Vinci's body, and one of the men attempted to open the bedding/plastic/duct-tape mess to find out.

"It was at this point that he realized the object was a human body and subsequently observed a hand," the arrest affidavit says.

Police say Pileggi tried to tell them Vinci was drunk and fell down the stairs, then told them it was a "heated altercation" that led to Vinci's fall down the stairs.

Finally, Pileggi said she had shot Vinci in the head and that she "messed him up bad," according to the report.

Vinci's friend called police at 1:30 p.m., telling them Vinci was dead.

Two days later, on June 30, crime-scene technicians were processing the evidence -- a blood-stained knife and clothing in Vinci's Bentley and a .380-caliber handgun -- and found a fingerprint on the gun's magazine matching Peliggi's prints, according to the report.

In addition to this, Pileggi had gone to a former residence a few days before looking for two of Vinci's guns, and Pileggi still blamed Vinci for her sister's death, the report says.

Pileggi was arrested Tuesday and is being held in jail without bond, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley