View Full Version : GUILTY FL - Donald Moringiello charged with murder of his wife, Hattie 'Fern' Bergeler

07-19-2005, 01:04 PM
Prosecutors who failed to win a conviction against a Florida retiree accused of killing his wife and dumping her body in the ocean launched their second attempt Tuesday as opening statements began in Donald Moringiello's retrial.

Moringiello's August 2004 trial ended in a mistrial after a jury deadlocked. The split was 5-to-1 in favor of acquittal.

This time around, both sides will have the opportunity to present new evidence in the retired aerospace engineer's second-degree murder trial for the July 2002 death of his wife, Hattie "Fern" Bergeler, 57.


07-20-2005, 07:41 PM
The retrial of a Florida retiree accused of killing his wife opened Tuesday with testimony from a neighbor who said she often heard loud arguments coming from the home of defendant Donald Moringiello and his wife, Hattie "Fern" Bergeler.

Moringiello, 65, is accused of shooting his wife to death in July 2002, tying cinder blocks to her body, and dumping her in the bay behind their upscale home in Fort Myers. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Moringiello's August 2004 trial ended with a deadlocked jury, who were split 5-to-1 in favor of acquittal.

Changing strategies from the first trial, Lee County prosecutors opened the retrial Tuesday with civilian witnesses instead of police witnesses.

07-23-2005, 04:59 PM
Other neighbors testified for the state that the couple had an acrimonious relationship and were often heard arguing.

However, retired neighbor William Painter told jurors Friday that the couple appeared "comfortable and happy" in their marriage and that he never heard the defendant raise his voice.

"He's got the most even disposition of anyone I ever met," said Painter, who lived next door to the Moringiellos with his wife, Mary Alice Crawford.

Painter and Crawford testified that even after they left the area, they continued to go to dinner and participate in civic groups with the Moringiellos.

The month before Bergeler was killed, both couples went on a three-week trip to southern Italy.

State witnesses have testified that Bergeler called it "the trip from hell," but the defense witnesses said that Bergeler was the only person who seemed unhappy.

07-27-2005, 09:12 AM