YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Waldwick man charged with killing his former live-in girlfriend in her bed as their 8-month-old son lay in a crib nearby was brought before a judge this morning in a Hackensack courtroom packed with loved ones from both sides and a platoon of sheriff’s officers and undersheriffs.
“We love you, Mark!” a man in back shouted at the conclusion of the brief initial appearance for Mark Spatucci, 22, who said nothing and hung his head for most of the proceeding. Defense attorney Aidan O’Connor entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Authorities said Spatucci climbed into the home of Mary Greff through a second-floor window while her parents were sleeping, got into an argument with her and either strangled or suffocated her before leaving the way he came in.
Undisturbed was the couple’s eight-month-old son, who lay in a nearby crib.
Leon and Carol Ann Greff told authorities they found the body of their daughter, who turned 23 on Monday, around 10:50 a.m. Wednesday.
A graduate of Midland Park High School, Spatucci became an immediate suspect after authorities were called. He was found in Midland Park, taken in for questioning and later charged.
The 5-foot-8 inch, 150-pound Spatucci was returned to the Bergen County Jail, where he was being held on $2 million bail, charged with murder, felony murder, burglary, child endangerment, hindering apprehension and destroying evidence (Authorities said he washed the clothes he was wearing at the time of the killing and deleted text messages between him and the victim).
The felony murder charge stems from Spatucci 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.
The pair began dating about two years ago, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.
In February, their eight-month-old boy – named Mark, like his father and paternal grandfather – was born.
The two lived together 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.
Officially, Molinelli said: “The cause of death is currently under investigation and pending the final result of an autopsy which is being conducted by the Bergen County Medical Examiner. The manner of death is expected to be homicide.”
CLIFFVIEW PILOT first broke the story of Spatucci’s arrest: Ex-boyfriend charged in murder of Waldwick woman
It also had the first account of the killing: Bergen prosecutor: Waldwick woman, 23, was strangled
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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