A Midland Park man who prosecutors say raped, sodomized and strangled his former girlfriend while their baby slept in a nearby bassinet was formally arraigned on murder and related charges in a Hackensack courtroom today.
Defense attorney Aidan O’Connor entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Mark J. Spatucci, 24, in connection with the the brutal killing of Mary Greff in October 2013.
Senior Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer said her officer would have a plea offer before the next scheduled court appearance in the case on Sept. 14.
A 12-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Hackensack in late April accuses Spatucci of burglary and child endangement offenses in addition to seven first-degree murder- and sex assault-related counts. He remained held on $2 million bail in the Bergen County Jail.
Prosecutors said Spatucci climbed through a second-floor window into Greff’s parents’ home while they were sleeping, got into an argument with her and either strangled or suffocated her before leaving the way he came in.
Asleep in another room was their son – named Mark, like his father and paternal grandfather.
Leon and Carol Ann Greff called authorities after they found the body of their daughter, who turned 23 two days before she was killed. A graduate of Midland Park High School, Spatucci became an immediate suspect. He was found in Midland Park, taken in for questioning and later charged.
Authorities said he washed the clothes he was wearing at the time of the crimes and deleted text messages between him and Greff. Semen samples recovered from two bodily cavities returned positive results against him, they said.
The felony murder charge stems from Spatucci allegedly sneaking into the home through the window, which under the law is a burglary. A killing committed during the commission of another felony gives rise to the additional count.
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CLIFFVIEW PILOT first broke the story of Spatucci’s arrest: Ex-boyfriend charged in murder of Waldwick woman
The PILOT also had the first account of the killing: Bergen prosecutor: Waldwick woman, 23, was strangled
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The pair began dating sometime in 2011, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said after Spatucci’s arrest.
The couple lived with their son for a time at Spatucci’s Harrison Avenue apartment in Waldwick, but then Greff returned to live with her parents and the baby, the prosecutor said.
Greff had full custody, although Spatucci had visitation rights, he added.
STORY / PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
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