BURLINGTON - Kristen Pulisciano threw her boyfriend out of her home recently after their longtime relationship soured. But he continued to show up and eventually became violent toward her, authorities said.
On Thursday, authorities said, Christopher Piantedosi, dubbed the “Remorseful Robber’’ in 2011 after he returned stolen items with an apology, went back to Pulisciano’s home at 23 Forbes Ave. and, in a fit of rage, stabbed her multiple times, killing her. Her teenage daughter was in the house and called police.
“We can’t now know exactly what triggered this heinous act of murder,’’ Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said during a press conference Friday afternoon announcing Piantedosi’s arrest. “We do know there were some issues and some problems, and some indicators of violent acts and the exercise of power and control by this defendant leading up to the murder.’’
Authorities said Pulisciano, 38, a mother of two, had never filed a restraining order against Piantedosi, 39. Burlington police had responded to the address once, on the afternoon of March 23, when the couple argued over the ownership of a vehicle. Leone said the car, a brown Honda Civic, the one authorities were seeking following the homicide, belonged to Piantedosi.
Burlington police said they saw no signs of domestic violence during that call.
There have been 12 domestic violence homicides in Middlesex County in the past 17 months, a figure that has alarmed agencies that work to prevent such cases by focusing on indicators. Three of those cases have occurred since the beginning of January, accounting for a third of the cases statewide in the time period.
The Legislature is considering a crime bill that contains increased penalties for nondeadly strangulation in domestic violence cases, considered by experts to be a prelude to homicide.
“Domestic violence homicide is basically the ultimate act of domestic violence,’’ said Laura Van Zant, executive director of Waltham-based Reach Beyond Domestic Violence, which serves 27 cities and towns in Metrowest Boston. The agency has an advocate at the Burlington Police Department.
“There’s a preconceived notion that it doesn’t happen here, but it does,’’ she said, adding that cases are “incredibly underreported’’ because, in part, victims often feel they will be stigmatized if they go to police.
Domestic violence is a complicated, complex issue, “and unfortunately we don’t always get behind the four walls before it’s too late,’’ Leone said.
Residents of this middle-class neighborhood of ranch-style homes, backyard playgrounds, and well-kept lawns expressed shock yesterday that a neighbor was so brutally attacked in such a quiet area.
“To think that something like this would happen, you know, where you live, . . . It’s Burlington and feels like a very safe town to live in,’’ said Leeann Berke, moments after she placed a bouquet of yellow flowers under the police tape that blocked off the crime scene.
At the time that Berke, a resident of the neighborhood, had arrived to pay condolences, State Police were placing Piantedosi under arrest.
His whereabouts since 6:45 p.m. Thursday, when the victim’s 15-year-old daughter called police to report that Piantedosi had just killed her mother, remain a mystery. But at 1 p.m. Friday, he drove into the State Police’s Weston barracks parking lot, where he sat in his Honda Civic for some time before he was recognized and arrested.
Leone said much about the case will be revealed during Piantedosi’s arraignment for first-degree murder in Woburn District Court Monday, including an account of what the victim’s daughter saw.
The victim’s 20-year-old son was not at home.
It was unclear Friday whether the son and daughter are also the defendant’s children.
Leone said authorities have a wealth of evidence connecting Piantedosi to the homicide, including witness accounts, physical, electronic, and biological fluid evidence, as well as the murder weapons found inside the home.
For several weeks, Piantedosi had been living with relatives in Methuen. There was no response yesterday at the condominium where the defendant’s parents live.
Last year, Piantedosi stole a New Hampshire woman’s wallet, GPS device, and $90 in cash, but returned the stolen items with a lengthy letter of apology to the victim.
His letter was signed, “Stupid,’’ according to the Manchester Union Leader.
He pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor in that case and was given a 30-day suspended sentence. He told the newspaper he was having trouble finding work because prospective employers read news accounts of his case and chose not to hire him.Brian R. Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.