Bottled-up emotions in sentencing phase
The family of murder victim Paul Bonomo released three years of bottled-up emotions in a Placer County courtroom during the sentencing of 22-year-old David Harrison Buzzetta, who was found guilty by a jury of bludgeoning his stepfather to death in the victim’s Roseville home in 2007.
The brothers and sisters of Bonomo praised their deceased sibling for his kindness and humor and for his dedication to hard work and they urged Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry to give a maximum sentence to Buzzetta for the fatal beating he gave the 43-year-old Bonomo with a baseball bat.
Curry imposed the maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison for Buzzetta. A jury found Buzzetta guilty on Jan. 12 of first-degree murder and deemed as true an allegation that he used a deadly weapon in the crime.
Tom Bonomo of Colorado read several impact statements on behalf of other brothers who were unable to attend the sentencing while his sister, Christine Bonomo, also of Colorado, read statements for several other sisters.
Tom Bonomo urged the justice system to keep Buzzetta locked up for the rest of his life.
‘The defendant should not be allowed to remove the life of anyone else ever,’ he said.
Paul Bonomo, a beloved person
Tom Bonomo talked about his brother’s love for fishing and outdoor sports, about his academic achievements at the University of Michigan, where he majored in electrical engineering, about his involvement as a scout leader and about his way of putting a ‘positive spin on everything.’
‘He was an outstanding person. The world needs more people like this,’ Tom Bonomo said.
Christine Bonomo also praised her brother and said that ‘no words can capture how much I loved him.’
‘No (prison) sentence will ever compensate for the loss,’ she said.
Paul Bonomo was found dead on March 19, 2007, the day after he’d allowed Buzzetta, then 19 and who had just returned from Colorado, to stay with him for the night because the stepson had nowhere to sleep.
A trial jury determined that Buzzetta, who had a history of drug use and who held resentment against his stepfather for his ‘tough love’ methods, used an aluminum baseball bat to kill Bonomo, who was asleep in an upstairs bedroom.
The jury also determined that a special allegation that Buzzetta was lying in wait an allegation that could send the defendant to prison for the rest of his life without possibility of parole was true.
However, just as a second phase of the trial had begun in an effort to determine whether Buzzetta was sane when the crime was committed, an offer was made to strike the lying-in-wait allegation in exchange for the withdrawal of his insanity plea.
The action would allow Buzzetta a chance for parole.
Buzzetta”s mother, Eileen Bonomo, also spoke in court today, telling her son how much she loved him and how she had tried to provide him with a good home. But she noted that he turned to drugs and bad friends in his teenage years.
‘You made a very bad choice to take Paul’s life,’ she told him. ‘For the first time, you are being held accountable.’
Buzzetta kept his head down, staring at the counsel table in front of him throughout the entire proceeding and occasionally used a tissue to dab his nose and mouth. He spoke only once, saying ‘yes’ when the judge asked him a question.
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