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Jacquelyn GRECO

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Prosecutors say greed motivated Greco and her then-lover, former Chicago police officer Sam Greco, to arrange Gaimari's murder, which appeared to be a home invasion and robbery gone wrong
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: April 30, 1979
Date of arrest: February 2013 (33 years after)
Date of birth: 1947
Victim profile: Her husband, Carl Gaimari, 34
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Inverness, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Status: Sentenced to 30 years in prison on December 29, 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 

Woman gets 30 years in prison for 1979 murder of husband in Inverness

George Houde - Chicago Tribune

December 30, 2016

A Cook County judge listened to a tearful plea from a former Inverness housewife convicted in the 1979 murder of her husband and granted a small portion of the mercy she requested Thursday.

"I'm pleading with you for leniency," Jacquelyn Greco told Judge Marc Martin, weeping in front of a Rolling Meadows courtroom filled with witnesses and family members. "I loved my husband. My husband loved me".

After listening to Greco admit she participated in a plan to kill her husband, 34-year-old Carl Gaimari though she said she thought the plan had been called off Martin sentenced her to 30 years in prison. Prosecutors had asked for the maximum 40 years under sentencing laws in effect in 1979.

"The defendant's admission is significant and the court takes it as a begrudging statement of remorse," Martin said. "If the defendant had not made it, the sentence would be higher."

He noted that the 69-year-old Greco could serve only 50 percent of the sentence under good-conduct rules. He said she was a "significant cog in the course of events that led to the murder" of Gaimari and that it had caused great harm to the couple's four minor children at the time.

Greco, dressed in a blue jail scrubs, her gray shoulder-length hair styled in curls, was stoic as Martin read the sentence.

After the lengthy hearing, Gaimari's sister, Leemarie Bonk, said she wanted the maximum sentence.

"We were all devastated by this," said Bonk. "The nightmare would have been over sooner if this trial had happened when Carl was killed."

One of Gaimari's children, Becky Wykel, who found her father's body in the basement of their sprawling ranch home on April 30, 1979, testified that the murder damaged her for life.

"It was the worst day of my life," Wykel testified. "Life went on as normal but it was never normal for me."

The defense did not offer any mitigation witnesses, but submitted letters from friends and family members. Assistant Public Defender Caroline Glennon asked Martin for the minimum sentence of 20 years.

Greco was convicted by a jury in October of first-degree murder. During her trial, prosecutors portrayed Greco as a cold -hearted woman who schemed to get rid of her husband because she wanted to marry Sam Greco, then a Chicago police officer. She didn't want to divorce Gaimari, prosecutors said, because she feared she would be left with no money.

Authorities say two masked intruders pushed their way into the family home on Turkey Trail Road in a staged home invasion in broad daylight, tied up Jacquelyn and three of her children in a closet, and waited for Gaimari to return from work before shooting him, authorities said. No one else has been charged in the case and the two gunmen remain unidentified.

Jacquelyn Greco, formerly Jacquelyn Gaimari, was arrested in 2013 after detectives in the newly established Inverness Police Department began reviewing the cold case file in the murder of Carl Gaimari.

Much of the evidence against Greco came from incriminating statements she made in a recorded conversation with her sister. The sister testified that before the murder, Jacquelyn Greco told her of a plot to kill her husband by staging the home invasion.

When Gaimari arrived home from his position at the Board of Trade, the two men used his own handguns to kill him, leaving his body in the basement, prosecutors said. The two fled, and Jacquelyn and the children were freed when another child came home from school.

Within an hour of the murder, Sam Greco, arrived on the scene as Barrington police and other agencies began an investigation, witnesses testified. He and Jacquelyn were having an affair at the time and he moved into the Inverness home within a week. Later that year, the two were married and eventually moved to California.

The two returned to Illinois in 1987 to collect the proceeds of Gaimari's estate and invested in a bar on Chicago's Northwest Side. They divorced in 1990 and Jacquelyn Greco eventually moved to Crystal Falls, Mich.

At her trial, witnesses testified that Jacquelyn Greco went to the offices of her husband's company the morning after the murder to get cash from his account, but was unable to withdraw any. Prosecutors said the new widow threw a pool party at her house several days after the murder and exhibited other unusual behavior.

Greco's team of assistant public defenders did not call any witnesses in her defense.

Sam Greco is in poor health and lives on the Northwest Side, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the investigation into Gaimari's murder remains open.

Carl Gaimari's last name was misspelled in an earlier online version.

 
 

'We always knew she did it': Greco guilty of husband's 1979 murder

George Houde - Chicago Tribune

November 1, 2016

It didn't take long for Jacquelyn Greco to raise suspicions among investigators and family members after her husband, Carl Gaimari, was shot to death in their Inverness home in 1979, a crime so shocking that it made the front page of the Tribune at the time.

The first thing Greco said to her sister when she arrived on the scene, according to testimony, was, "I didn't do it." Within days, Greco had moved her boyfriend, a Chicago police officer, into the large suburban home where the crime occurred while she and three of her four children were tied up in a closet. Within a few months, she remarried.

Still, it took almost four decades before Greco would be held accountable for the crime. That day finally came Monday, when a jury determined Greco knew of the plot to kill her husband and to stage it to look like a home invasion and burglary. After about two hours of deliberations, jurors found Greco guilty of first-degree murder.

"I never thought this day would come," Gaimari's niece, Jane Keenan, said after the verdict was announced. "We always knew she did it. It's really sad how it affected the family all these years. Today is a good day for our family."

Greco was stoic as the guilty verdict was announced, but her public defenders said she broke down when she was brought back to a holding cell at the Rolling Meadows branch courthouse. They said they will appeal.

She faces 20 to 40 years in prison when she is sentenced Dec. 19, but could serve 50 percent of her sentence with good behavior behind bars. Still, at age 69, Greco could spend the rest of her life behind bars.

Cook County prosecutor Ethan Holland said Greco "got away with it for 37 years."

Throughout the weeklong trial, prosecutors portrayed Greco as a coldhearted schemer who went along with the plan to get rid of her husband because she wanted to marry her boyfriend, now-retired Chicago Officer Sam Greco, but didn't want to divorce Gaimari because she feared she would be left with no money. She had hired Sam Greco as a private investigator to look into her husband's suspected affairs.

During closing arguments earlier Monday, fellow prosecutor Maria McCarthy had said the fact that Jacquelyn Greco was tied up during the murder shouldn't obscure her involvement.

"We don't know who the other people are in this case," said McCarthy, referring to the gunmen, who have never been charged or identified. That's not necessary, she said, to prove Greco is culpable.

"It's as though her finger was on the trigger for every shot," McCarthy said.

Defense attorneys had sought to underscore what they said was scant evidence of Greco's guilt.

They noted the lack of physical evidence tying the murder to Greco. And they said there could be other reasonable explanations for things that prosecutors said were indicators of Greco being in on a plot, like the back door being left open or the fact that the intruders seemed to know where to find guns in the house.

Yet recordings prosecutors played of phone calls Greco had with her sister, Elsie Fry, shortly before Greco's 2013 arrest, apparently had a big impact on jurors. In them, Greco seemingly begs her sister not to tell authorities they talked about the specifics of the murder plot months before Gaimari was killed.

Greco didn't know the recordings were being made; Fry reluctantly cooperated with authorities, though defense attorneys contend Fry was angry at her sister for having sued her over a financial loan.

"You can listen to the (taped) conversations all day long. It doesn't prove anything," Cook County Assistant Public Defender Caroline Glennon told jurors.

Greco's lawyers also tried to play down the suspicions aroused by her quick remarriage to Sam Greco, who showed up at the crime scene shortly after Gaimari was killed. Defense attorneys say Sam Greco was simply offering support to Jacquelyn after the trauma of her husband's murder.

Authorities said Jacquelyn Greco purposefully had her then-13-year-old daughter stay home from school that day so she would have a witness to the home intrusion. The girl, along with her two young siblings, were tied up in the closet by the masked intruders while they waited for Gaimari to come home from his job at the Chicago Board of Trade. The oldest of the Gaimari children, a 15-year-old daughter, arrived from school to find the home in disarray and her family tied up.

"A plot to kill your husband is unconscionable. But when you include your 15-year-old, your 13-year-old, your 5-year-old and your baby, that takes it to a whole new level of depravity," said Holland, the prosecutor.

Sam and Jacquelyn Greco moved to California a short time after the murder with her children, but they eventually returned to Chicago and for a time ran a bar on Chicago's Northwest Side. They divorced in 1990, though Jacquelyn Greco kept her second husband's name. Sam Greco has not been charged in connection with Gaimari's death.

He was expected to be called to testify on Jacquelyn Greco's behalf. But in a surprise twist Friday, her public defenders announced that they would call no witnesses in her defense and rested their case.

Two of Gaimari's brothers and other relatives embraced after the verdict was announced Monday.

Mike Gaimari said he found the evidence against Greco "overwhelming" and said the family "always suspected" she was involved.

John Gaimari called the trial "surreal."

"There was a time we thought this would never happen," he said. "All we wanted was justice for Carl and his children."

Neither the gunmen who shot Gaimari nor any other conspirator has been identified by authorities. Monday, Holland said the investigation "remains open."

 
 

Evidence damaged, but witnesses key in Inverness cold case murder

Barbara Vitello - DailyHerald.com

October 27, 2016

On April 30, 1979, Carl Gaimari, a married father of four, was found shot to death in the basement of his Inverness home.

Barrington police, who had jurisdiction over Inverness until the village established its own police department in 2009, made no arrests and the case went cold until 2011, when a pair of Inverness detectives began delving into Gaimari's murder.

Investigators had retired. Witnesses had passed away. And the evidence Detective William Stutzman and his partner received from Barrington police came in "pretty poor condition," said Stutzman, a prosecution witness against Gaimari's widow, Jacquelyn Greco, who is on trial on charges she murdered her husband.

Prosecutors say greed motivated Greco, 69, and her then-lover to arrange Gaimari's murder and make it appear to be a robbery and home invasion gone wrong.

The evidence, which had been stored in the basement of the Barrington police department, was damaged by floods in 1986 and 1990, Stutzman said. What survived came to investigators in two large garbage bags, Stutzman said.

Forensic scientists at the Illinois State Police crime lab were unable to obtain a DNA profile from cigarettes recovered from the Gaimari home, prosecutors said. The crime lab report indicated some bullets recovered could have been fired from one of two handguns Gaimari owned, both of which were near his body. Other bullets were unidentifiable, according to the report.

The gunmen have not been found.

Stutzman's testimony Thursday suggested interviews he and his partner conducted yielded better results. As part of their investigation, the detectives reinterviewed witnesses, including Greco's sister Elsie Fry, who testified earlier this week for the prosecution. In 1981, Fry reported to police that Greco told her "we found out a way to kill Carl." Fry claimed Greco made the statement two months before Gaimari's murder.

Stutzman and his partner reinterviewed Fry in 2012 and asked if she would be willing to record her conversations with Greco.

On Feb. 14, 2013, authorities obtained a recording in which Greco, talking to Fry, appeared to implicate herself in her husband's murder.

Also on Thursday, Cook County medical examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar -- using notes from the original autopsy the now-deceased Dr. Robert Stein performed in 1979 -- testified Gaimari had gunshots to his heart, aorta, lung, intestines, liver and hand.

Testimony continues Friday, when prosecutors expect to rest their case.

 
 

Defendant's daughter testifies for prosecution in Inverness cold case

Barbara Vitello - DailyHerald.com

October 26, 2016

Returning from school about 2:40 p.m. April 30, 1979, Becky Wyckel sensed something amiss at her Inverness home.

"I knew something was wrong when I walked through the back door," testified Wyckel, who testified for the prosecution Tuesday as her mother Jacquelyn Greco's murder trial entered its second day.

Jacquelyn Greco is charged with the 1979 death of Carl Gaimari, her husband and Wyckel's father. Prosecutors say greed motivated Greco, 69, and her lover to arrange the death of Gaimari, a 34-year-old commodities trader at the Chicago Board of Trade.

The then-15-year-old Fremd High School sophomore noticed some open drawers and cabinets. Calling out for her mom and siblings, Wyckel started down the stairs to the basement where she noticed her father sitting on a couch.

She assumed her parents had had a fight and her mother was somewhere in the neighborhood until she heard her mother calling from the master bedroom. Wyckel found Greco locked in a closet, her hands tied, along with Wyckel's siblings, ages 13, 5 and 2.

Wyckel testified Greco asked, "Where's your father?" Her 13-year-old sister went to the basement, where she discovered her father had been shot six times in the chest, which Wyckel had not been able to see.

According to prosecutors, Greco claimed two masked, armed gunmen entered the Turkey Trail Road home earlier that day, locked her and the children in a closet, then rifled through the couple's belongings.

Prosecutors say the gunmen accosted Gaimari when he returned from work and ushered him to the basement, where they shot him to death. The two men have never been identified.

The case remained cold until 2013 when Greco implicated herself in her husband's murder during a phone conversation with her sister, Elsie Fry, who also testified against her.

Under cross examination from Cook County assistant public defender Julie Koehler, Wyckel repeatedly stated she could not recall what she said to police at the time.

She also admitted she has little contact with Greco, who married Sam Greco on Aug. 10, 1979, less than four months after Gaimari's murder.

Steve Klemen, former co-owner of Pacific Trading Company, where Gaimari worked as an independent trader, testified Greco came to the office before 9:30 a.m. May 1, 1979, asking about her husband's financial accounts and seeking money for expenses.

Klemen, who described Gaimari as an "average trader, not making great amounts of money," said he did not allow Greco to access her husband's accounts because he was unsure if he could legally do so.

Gaimari's attorney, Howard Cohen, testified Gaimari's estate totaled $623,535 at the time of his death, not including the Inverness home.

Testimony continues today.

 
 

Sister implicates dead man's wife in 1979 Inverness slaying

Barbara Vitello - DailyHerald.com

October 25, 2016

"We found out a way to kill Carl."

Elsie Fry, of East Dundee, testified Tuesday her sister Jacquelyn Greco made that statement two months before Greco's husband was found shot to death in the basement of the couple's Inverness home 37 years ago.

Greco, also known as Jackie, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 1979 death of her husband, commodities broker Carl Gaimari, 34. Her trial began Tuesday in Rolling Meadows.

Prosecutors say greed motivated Greco and her then-lover, former Chicago police officer Sam Greco, to arrange Gaimari's murder, which appeared to be a home invasion and robbery gone wrong.

"I didn't want to hear it," said Fry, 86, of the conversation the sisters had in February 1979, two months before Gaimari's shooting death on April 30, 1979.

Fry kept silent about the conversation until March 1981 when she told her daughter about Jackie's statements.

Defense attorneys questioned Fry's motives.

"A lot of this information ... it didn't appear in 1979, in 1980. It appeared in 1981 when Sam (Greco) and Jackie sued Elsie over $7,000 she owed them," said Cook County assistant public defender Julie Koehler in her opening statement.

Barrington police, which had jurisdiction over Inverness until the village established its own force in 2009, investigated Fry's claims in 1981. But the case went cold until 2013. That's when authorities say Greco implicated herself during phone conversations with Fry, which police recorded after a judge authorized them to do so.

Prosecutors played two tearful conversations between the sisters recorded Feb. 14, 2013, during which Fry informs her sister she told prosecutors how Greco mentioned killing Gaimari.

"They have it on record and I have to tell the truth," Fry said.

"Oh my God ... don't tell them I said that," Greco responds. During a 24-minute recording Greco expresses fear of going to jail and threatens to kill herself before she does.

"I didn't do it," she claims repeatedly.

"I know," said Fry, "but you told me how it was going to be done."

Later, Greco urges her sister to "tell them you were confused and don't remember." Fry responds that she would not lie. In a second, shorter conversation recorded several minutes after the first one ended, Greco asks Fry if she remembers Greco telling Sam Greco "not to do it."

The women discuss abuse Greco said she endured at Gaimari's hands, including an instance when he put a gun to her head and threatened to kill her. Fry recalled driving her sister to the hospital after Greco said her husband beat her.

"Your testimony is enough to put me away," said Greco on the recording. "You're my sister but you're a witness against me ... That's enough to put me away. Not that I killed him, but I knew."

Fry's son-in-law James Sances testified Greco asked him in 1978 if he knew of a drug that could cause a heart attack. Sances said he told Greco to get a divorce.

"She said, 'I would do that but I'd get nothing,'" Sances said.

Prosecutors say two armed, masked men entered the Gaimari home through an unlocked door on April 30, 1979. They tied up Greco, put her and her children, ages 2, 5 and 13, into a closet and ransacked the home. When Gaimari returned from his job at the Chicago Board of Trade, the gunmen shot him six times in the chest.

The couple's 15-year-old daughter returned home and freed her mother and siblings, and the 13-year-old found her father dead in the basement.

Testimony continues Wednesday.

 
 

Michigan woman charged in 1979 Inverness murder

Wife charged in '79 murder of Inverness commodities broker

Barbara Vitello - DailyHerald.com

May 8, 2013

More than 34 years after intruders shot Inverness commodities broker Carl Gaimari to death during a home invasion on April 30, 1979, authorities charged the victim's wife, Jacquelyn Greco, with his murder.

Greco, 66, of Crystal Falls, Mich., appeared in Rolling Meadows bond court Wednesday, where Cook County Judge Jill Cerone Marisie ordered her held without bond.

Greco was arrested after Inverness police and prosecutors from the Cook County state's attorney's Cold Case Unit recorded a recent phone conversation in which prosecutors say Greco told someone she had had a plan to kill the victim.

Carl Gaimari's brother Michael Gaimari, 71, said he was "ecstatic" upon hearing police had made an arrest.

Over the years, police got "a lead here, a lead there," but they never amounted to anything, he said.

"Things started happening a couple of years ago when Inverness got its new police department," he said, adding that detectives "were relentless" in their investigation.

Prosecutors said that about a year before the killing, Greco told a witness she wanted to get rid of Gaimari and asked whether the witness knew of any drug that mimicked a heart attack.

When the witness advised Greco to get a divorce, Greco responded that she wouldn't get any money if she divorced Gaimari, whereas she would get it all if she "got rid of Carl," prosecutors said.

At the time of the slaying, authorities say, Greco was having an affair with a man prosecutors identified in their proffer as Individual D. Authorities say in the weeks before the killing, Greco told a second witness that she and her lover had a plan to stage a home invasion during which Gaimari would be killed.

About 12:30 p.m. on the day of the Gaimari's death, two men entered the family home on the 1400 block of Turkey Trail Road and announced a robbery. The men tied up Greco and three of her and Gaimari's four children and locked them in a bedroom closet. Before leaving the room, the intruders took two guns belonging to the victim from the closet shelf, authorities said.

Gaimari was killed in the basement of the family home about one hour later, prosecutors said.

Cook County state's attorney spokeswoman Sally Daly said the investigation into the identity of the shooters continues.

According to Daly, the couple's oldest daughter arrived home from school and released the family from the closet. Another daughter, then 13, discovered her father's body, Daly said.

Police recovered the guns the intruders took from the closet. Prosecutors said tests revealed the fatal shots came from those weapons.

Prosecutors say Greco's boyfriend arrived at the home shortly after the death.

Within days, Michael Gaimari said, his brother's belongings were packed up and removed. About a week later, Greco's boyfriend moved in, and within four months they married, prosecutors said.

Inverness police revisited the cold case periodically, pursuing leads, but nothing substantial came of their efforts until February 2012, when police received permission to record the defendant's phone conversations, Daly said.

"The wiretap gave us the evidence we needed," Daly said.

That evidence included a Feb. 14, 2013, conversation between one of the witnesses and Greco, who admitted she planned to kill the victim, prosecutors said.

Michael Gaimari described his brother as a "top-notch speculator" and a natural athlete who mastered every sport he attempted.

"He was one of those types of guys that no matter what he did, he was good at it," Gaimari said.

If convicted of first-degree murder under 1979 statutes, Greco faces between 20 and 40 years in prison. She would have to serve at least 50 percent of her sentence before she would be eligible for parole. Greco next appears in court on May 29.

Hers marks the second arrest in recent weeks in a cold case murder in Northwest Cook County. Frank Buschauer of Pell Lake, Wis., was arrested April 24 on charges he murdered his wife, Cynthia Hrisco, 47, on Feb. 28, 2000, in their South Barrington home. That arrest resulted from a review by Cook County prosecutors and South Barrington police.

 
 


Jacqueline Greco

 

The victim


Carl Gaimari, 34.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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