Disturbing stories of violence and rage come from witnesses for the defense on the second day of the Matthew Taranto murder trial, but it's not the killer, it's the victim they're describing. Our Tamara Lindstrom reports.
TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. -- A youth basketball league, summer camp and even Matthew Taranto's workplace in the Ithaca City School District. All places witnesses say Sal Taranto was banned from after fits of rage.
In an effort to prove the 29-year old defendant was a battered child, the defense called a string of witnesses Wednesday that attested to the victim's abusive personality.
A factor, the defense says, which drove Matthew Taranto to shoot his father seven times in the basement of their Trumansburg home, killing him in November of 2010. However, the prosecutor contends Taranto killed his father out of rage, not fear.
On the second day of testimony, two former co-workers talked about Matthew's relationship with his father, saying the defendant was afraid of Sal Taranto. But the most intimate testimony came from Matthew's own mother, who took the stand in his defense.
Camille Taranto described a turbulent relationship with her husband plagued by more than 20 years of violence and abuse, but said she stayed with Sal Taranto after he threatened to kill her parents and take away her son.
A retired school librarian, Mrs. Taranto kept a personal log describing beatings at the hands of her husband. She said he pulled a gun on Matthew and his mother while on vacation two months before the shooting.
Mrs. Taranto elaborated on her son's challenges with Asperger's syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder. But the prosecutor pointed out that Matthew Taranto was generally happy and said that Sal Taranto was well liked by many friends, to which his widow responded that everybody loved him after he died.
The defense will continue to call witnesses Thursday.
The defendant has waived his right to a jury trial, so the judge will make a ruling on the case. The trial is expected to last through the end of the week.