A World War II vet says he was tied up and shot twice during an attempted burglary earlier this year inside his California home. The accused criminal sees things differently, though, and now wants to file charges of his own.
Samuel Joseph Cutrufelli, 31, is on trial for attempted murder after allegedly shooting 90-year-old Jay Leone in the jaw and the back during a home robbery-gone-wrong back in January. When Cutrufelli attempted to flee Mr. Leone’s home after things went awry, though, the nonagenarian managed to make off firing a few rounds of his own.
According to Mr. Leone’s take, he was tied up by Cutrufelli at gunpoint and left to watch while the suspect snuck around the Greenbrae, CA residence attempting to empty it of anything of value. Leone soon managed to wiggle himself free though, then pleaded with the suspect to let him use the bathroom. On the way, he found one of five handguns stored throughout the house and approached the criminal during mid-burglary.
Cutrufelli, Leone says, fired first.
"The .45 hit me right in the face here and went through the back of my head," the vet told jurors during court proceedings earlier this month. "I didn't feel a thing."
So nonplussed was Leone, in fact, that he managed to fire off a few rounds himself moments after being shot in the face.
"I said, 'F—- you, you son of a bitch, now it's my turn," Leone admitted to the court.
Cutrufelli made it away from the scene, but not before allegedly wrestling Leone to the ground and trying to kill him; prosecutor Dorothy Chou Proudfoot told the court that Cutrufelli would have executed his victim at point-blank range had his gun not run out of bullets.
“After trying to kill him once, he tried to kill him again," she told the court.
Cutrufelli was captured by authorities shortly after once he was spotted bleeding in his car near the scene of the crime, the Marin Independent Journal reports. At the time, the suspect told investigators that he had shot himself, but since his attorney has opened up about the truth. Now lawyers for the defense label Cutrufelli as a user of methamphetamines and that, inexplicably, the whole event unraveled as part of “a drug deal gone bad.”
This week, the defense altered their case once more. Now attorneys for Cutrufelli say they are suing the veteran because Leone “negligently shot” the robber in the back, causing “great bodily injury, and other financial damage, including loss of Mr. Cutrufelli’s home, and also the dissolution of Mr. Cutrufelli’s marriage.”
When the Marin Independent Journal asked Mr. Leone to comment on the latest charges this week, he told the paper he was unaware of the suit.
“He's the one who busted my door in," he said. "I'll just countersue him then. That's what I'll need to do."
If Cutrufelli is convicted of all charges, the father of two could be sentenced to life in prison. Assuming he doesn’t win the counter case, of course.