MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County prosecutors Tuesday began unveiling a torrent of physical evidence in their case against Anthony R. “Rob” Taglianetti – including the gun they say was used in the 2012 murder of Clymer School Superintendent Keith L. Reed Jr. and a crumpled ATM receipt from Taglianetti’s bank account found at the crime scene.
The .357 Magnum was discovered in a canvas gun case under the driver’s seat of Taglianetti’s car by Andrea Feldman, a crime scene specialist with the Prince William County Police Department in Manassas, Va.
At one point during her testimony, Feldman removed the gun from the case and held it up for jurors to see.
Four spent cartridges and two unused bullets were in the cylinder of the revolver when it was found in the car.
Feldman explained that she immediately noticed what appeared to be blood on the barrel, and she swabbed both sides of it for a sample to be analyzed by forensic investigators.
Also in the case alongside the gun was a printed copy of racy emails that prosecutors believe enraged Taglianetti, motivating him to drive 350 miles from his Woodbridge, Va., home to confront Reed, who was engaged in an online and telephone romance with Taglianetti’s wife, Mary.
Feldman was asked to read the email thread, which began July 31, 2012, and included references to phone sex between Mary Taglianetti and Reed.
“I took the email out of the gun case. I photographed it more and then I set it aside so I could photocopy it,” Feldman said. “After I removed the email, I observed a revolver in the gun case.”
Defense lawyer Nathaniel Barone, who in earlier court hearings had argued that evidence shouldn’t be allowed because of the way it was obtained, objected to much of Feldman’s testimony.
Feldman is not a police officer, making the evidence she collected inadmissible, Barone said. But Chautauqua County Judge John T. Ward said a police officer oversaw Feldman’s work, and he allowed all of her testimony.
Feldman spent more than two hours searching Taglianetti’s gold Buick Century on Sept. 28, 2012, four days after Reed’s body was found with three bullet wounds in a row of dense shrubs about 150 feet from his Clymer-Sherman Road home.
U.S. marshals who were on the lookout for Taglianetti arrested him near Shenandoah National Forest in Virginia, and the car was towed to the Prince William County Police Department for evidence.
Also found in the car were a .22-caliber rifle with ammunition, a box of Remington revolver .38 special cartridges, a Samsung cellphone, sunglasses and a laptop computer.
In addition to dozens of photos of the car and its contents and the crime scene, Chautauqua County District Attorney David W. Foley submitted to jurors as evidence Reed’s cellphone, which was found by construction workers along Route 81 in Harrisburg, Pa.
Investigators were alerted to the discovery of the phone when Scott Kolodziejczak tried calling his former brother-in-law’s cell number, which was answered by one of the construction workers.
Kolodziejczak then contacted Reed’s brother, Kevin, an FBI agent. FBI Special Agent Christopher T. Nawrocki, who is based in Harrisburg, retrieved what he described as a “severely damaged” cellphone from a construction foreman. Nawrocki then immediately shipped the phone to the FBI office in Buffalo.
Investigators also discovered a key piece of evidence at the crime scene, about 20 feet from where Reed’s body was located.
Between a set of tire tracks leading up to the hedgerow, Sgt. Michael G. Williams, an investigator with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, noticed a piece of wadded paper, which turned out to be an ATM receipt from 12:30 a.m. Sept. 21, 2012, from a bank machine in Linden, Va., about 50 miles from where Taglianetti lived.
The receipt showed a $240 withdrawal.
Foley said in his opening statement to the jury that the receipt was from Taglianetti’s bank account and helped put him at the scene of the crime.
But Barone maintained in his opening remarks that the prosecution’s evidence was far too convenient to be what really happened.
“It’s not as simple as just one email, contrary to what the government would like you to believe,” said Barone.
He also painted a picture of Taglianetti being manipulated by a conniving wife and urged jurors to “hold the government to their heavy burden of proof.”