Courts & Crime

Police: Jilted woman stabbed, shot and beat Florida millionaire to death

Apparently enraged by a potential breakup with a Fort Lauderdale multimillionaire, Catherine Marie Pileggi took deadly revenge, investigators say.

Pileggi, a onetime pilot, also blamed him for the death of her sister years earlier, police said.

Pileggi is accused of shooting Ronald C. Vinci in the head, stabbing him in the chest, slitting his throat, wrapping him in bedding and plastic bags – and then plotting to drop his body in the ocean.

She was held without bond Wednesday.

“This is a brutal, brutal murder," police spokesman Detective Travis Mandell said. "I can’t imagine someone else doing this to another human being."

According to the arrest affidavit, Pileggi told one of Vinci’s friends: “I messed him up bad.’’

The admission was made to Spencer Gordon, who discovered the body at a mansion the couple shared in the upscale Tarpon River neighborhood, according to the arrest affidavit released by Fort Lauderdale police. Gordon had been called by the couple’s handyman the morning of June 28.

Vinci, 70, whose riches came from successful car dealerships, had an on-and-off relationship with Pileggi, 54, for two decades.

The dead man is now a central figure in a bizarre family drama that also involves his lover’s late sister, Angela Pileggi Silverstein. She died suddenly at the age of 45, possibly from a drug overdose, while on a Caribbean cruise with the couple in December 2009.

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