Prevented from intervening, a 7-year-old boy watched in horror as his father fatally stomped and bludgeoned his mother, police said today.
Officers responding to a 911 call at 2:14 p.m. Sunday found Bernadette Giongo, 42, bloodied and lifeless on the kitchen floor of the Conshohocken home she shared with her husband, Joseph Vincent Giongo, 44, and three sons, ages 7, 10 and 18.
This morning, Joseph Giongo was taken into custody while walking along Butler Pike in Plymouth Township, said Montgomery County First Assistant District Attorney, Risa Vetri Ferman. He was arraigned on murder charges and taken to the Montgomery County jail.
Ferman said the youngest son told police his father became angry Saturday night over a takeout food order and began "punching his mother in the mouth." The boy tried to call for help, but his father ripped out the phone cord, locked the front door, and continued beating his wife.
"The boy related that his mother then said to him, 'I'm going to die. I love you,'" the criminal complaint said.
The boy told police his father left the kitchen and put on a pair of shoes, "returned to his mother's body and jumped on her stomach and face at the same time." He said blood came out of his mother's face and she did not move again, the complaint said.
Ferman said the couple's two other sons were away for the night. She said when the oldest son returned to his home in the 100 block of West Eighth Avenue on Sunday, he called 911. She said it was unclear exactly what time the slaying occurred.
An autopsy report listed the cause of death as blunt head trauma, Ferman said.
The elder son told police his father met him at the front door, said, "I killed your mother," and advised him to avoid the kitchen.
The father told his son he was going to surrender to police and left the house on foot, after hanging a plastic bag containing bloody sneakers and clothing on a kitchen drawer knob. He was not seen again until Plymouth Township police took him into custody on Butler Pike, the complaint said.
Ferman said the couple had no history of domestic violence, however, both were unemployed and Joseph Giongo was released from Norristown State Hospital on Dec. 4 after a brief stay. Ferman said relatives had him committed because they feared he might hurt someone.Ferman said that all three boys were staying with relatives and that it was impossible to imagine the trauma experienced by the 7-year-old.
"What he witnessed was an absolutely brutal attack on someone he loved by someone he loved," she said.