Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 3
Date of murders: March 23, 1997
Date of birth: 1957
Victims profile: His ex-wife, Kimberly, 29, her mother, Tamar Carsello, 50, and Kimberly's boyfriend, Bill Sauer, 46
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1999. Died in prison on February 10, 2001

Convicted triple killer Keith Scavo told the judge in a prepared speech that it was the jurist who would be shaking hands with the devil. Scavo, who represented himself during the trial, claimed Common Pleas Judge David N. Savitt "gagged" him by barring evidence that would have helped his case.

The Palm Sunday murders happened after Scavo showed up at his former mother-in-law's Brill Street home to return his 3-year-old daughter after a custody visit. He shot his ex-wife, Kimberly, 29, her mother, Tamar Carsello, 50, and Kimberly's boyfriend, Bill Sauer, 46.

Scavo was sentenced to life in prison for Sauer's slaying, but the jury imposed death sentences for the other killings because he murdered his ex-wife and mother-in-law after breaking into Carsello's home, and after already having killed Sauer.


Keith Scavo

April 23, 1999

Accused triple-killer Keith Scavo brushed aside his court-appointed lawyer at the start of his trial and indulged in a rant to the jury against the many forces he said were arrayed against him, including the National Organization for Women.

After Assistant District Attorney Arlene Fisk outlined how Scavo, 42, of South Philadelphia, shot and killed his former mother-in-law, his ex-wife and her new boyfriend - and wounded his 3-year-old daughter on Palm Sunday, March 23, 1997, Scavo stood by the defense table and softly told jurors he is the victim of a conspiracy among police, the district attorney's office and NOW, which he described as "a subversive organization." When Fisk objected, Common Pleas Judge David N. Savitt told jurors "the National Organization of Women is not on trial here."

"I have a right to uncover any conspiracy against me," Scavo then said.

Savitt told Scavo he could present anything "relevant to your defense." "The charges against me are false," said Scavo, who accused the prosecution of planning to present perjured testimony by his former father-in-law, who witnessed the slayings. Scavo accused the witness of trying to "kidnap my daughter."


Good Mourning: Convicted killer dies in prison

By William Kenny -

February 2001

Robert Carsello thought he was coming home for a movie date with his fiancÚ, Beth Lamond.

Carsello, a lifelong photography enthusiast, had driven up to northern Bucks County, along the Delaware River, on another one of his nature-seeking tours. Lamond paged him from their Abington Township home. It was Valentine's Day.

Carsello started back. When he walked through the door, Lamond greeted him with a hug, a kiss and a rose.

"She said, 'Happy Valentine's Day,'" Carsello recalled during an interview last week. "Then she said, 'I have another Valentine's Day present for you.'"

Lamond instructed Carsello to have a seat.

"She told me, 'Keith Scavo is dead.' I said, 'Yeah, right,'" Carsello continued.

Carsello asked if Lamond's son, John, a known prankster, had put his mother up to this jest.

No, he hadn't.

And then a great weight floated from the shoulders of Carsello and a countless list of family members and friends.


"Naturally, I broke down and started crying," Carsello said, "not with grief, but with happiness. I knew deep down, there was a cloud that was going to be over our heads for a long, long time. It would be plaguing us."

Lamond knew that her news was best passed along in person.

"I was afraid to tell him (on the telephone) in a moving car," she said, "because he'd be hit by all kinds of emotions."

Scavo, 45, was a death-row inmate at the State Correctional Institution in Greene County, Pa., located in the extreme southwestern corner of the state.

He died Feb. 10 after a massive heart attack, according to a prison spokeswoman.

But to the Carsello family, Scavo wasn't just any old death-row prisoner.

He was the man convicted almost two years ago of the Palm Sunday, 1997, murders of Robert Carsello's wife, Tamar; her daughter, Kimberly; and Kimberly's boyfriend, Bill Sauer. The shootings occurred at Carsello's home on the 600 block of Brill St. in Lawndale.

Kimberly was once married to Scavo. Together, they had a daughter, Giavanna, who was wounded by Scavo in the shoulder during the early-evening attack on March 23. She was 3 at the time.

Scavo's homicidal rampage was the final act in a relationship that had begun to unravel years earlier, shortly after Gia's 1993 birth, Carsello said. At the time of the murders, Kim and Gia were living with Carsello in the Brill Street home.

Carsello, 64, believes the pressure of the divorce and an ongoing custody fight drove Keith Scavo to do what he did. By no means did it excuse what he did.

Yet, even after his conviction, Scavo continued to fight Carsello for custody of the girl from his death-row prison cell. Carsello had temporary custody of the girl.

Ironically, Scavo's heart gave out three days before a Family Court judge was to award permanent custody to Carsello. The hearing went on anyway on Feb. 13.

Not a word was spoken of Scavo's death. Carsello certainly didn't know about it. As far as he could tell, no one else in the courtroom knew, either.

"The bottom line here is, I'm in court on the thirteenth, wasting time and money, and he's dead on the tenth," Carsello said. "Why was I never informed of this? Why wasn't everybody notified, including the judge?"

Carsello has learned a lot about the legal system through his family's ordeal, some of it good, much of it bad.

He applauds the way the prosecutor in Scavo's case, Assistant District Attorney Arlene Fisk, worked long and hard to win three first-degree murder convictions. Yet, he says, the courts seem to advocate more for defendants' rights than victims' rights.

Carsello was the star witness in the Scavo trial. He was the only adult in the Brill Street home to make it out alive. He escaped through a rear door to seek help for his fallen loved ones.

When authorities arrived on the scene, they found Sauer lying in the front yard. He had been shot point-blank between the eyes. Tamar Carsello was found inside the house, riddled with four bullet wounds. Kimberly Scavo also was in the house. She had been shot three times, including once in the back.


Robert Carsello still gets nightmares from time to time, something a therapist has helped him control.

"(The therapist's) primary concern is not getting nightmares (and) not getting bad thoughts in the daytime," Carsello said. "I was pretty good until the custody (case) came along."

The therapist, Dr. Susan Nessler, also gave him a lasting bit of advice.

"(She said) you have to have a purpose, (to know) what you want to go on with in life," Carsello said. "For me, that was Giavanna.

"I've got her to look forward to. I've got this little girl. I can't fail. Then Beth came along. Now I have her, too."

The healing process has been a slow and steady one for Gia, too -- just like her "pop-pop." Carsello and Lamond encourage the 7-year-old to talk about her harrowing experience and her feelings as often as she wants.

"Gia is very good about being real honest about how she feels," Lamond said. "She doesn't bottle things up. It's not healthy to walk around with things bothering you."

Even when a stranger stops by the house, asking all kinds of questions about her past, Gia doesn't struggle to produce a smile and display the self-confidence that has made her an "A" student at Roslyn Elementary School.


Gia loves her new home. She and Carsello were able to move away from Brill Street about nine months ago.

"When we first moved here, my pop-pop had a surprise for me my own room," Gia said, adding that it was simply a matter of necessity.

Without a new room, she said, "where would I put all of my toys?"

Gia doesn't always remember the details of the murders. According to the testimony of others at the trial, she was visiting with Scavo most of the day at the South Jersey home of his cousin. When the day ended, Scavo drove to the Brill Street home as if to return the girl to her mother.

According to eyewitness accounts, Kim walked to the curb to greet the girl as she left Scavo's van. Words were exchanged between the adults. Sauer interceded while the mother and daughter went inside the house.

Then the shooting began.

After the gunfire had settled, Scavo took the bleeding girl and drove back to New Jersey, dumping the murder weapon (his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol) in the Schuylkill River along the way.

Scavo was arrested by New Jersey authorities after taking the girl to a hospital there for treatment of her wound.

Gia remembers little of those events, but her face brightens when asked about her mother and Sauer, the man whom she has come to refer to as "daddy."

"She would serve me whatever kind of dinner I wanted," the girl said of her mother. "She would let me be a maniac whenever I wanted."

Gia gets to do a lot of things nowadays, too. In addition to school, she attends Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) classes. Her "mom-mom" (Lamond) is the teacher. Gia is also a Brownie. Lamond hopes to enroll her in dance classes.

"I think kids need some music in their lives, some dancing," Lamond said.


Lamond has made the same kind of impact on Carsello, bringing life and energy to a man to whom companionship is of utmost importance.

"I don't like to be alone," Carsello said. "I'm a family-type guy."

The couple met in Dorothy's Hair Salon on Rising Sun Avenue. She was a client, he was a stylist. Carsello continues to work there a couple of days a week.

Like Carsello, Lamond knows of family tragedy -- both professionally and personally. She spent more than 20 years as a visiting psychiatric nurse, helping folks in some of the city's worst neighborhoods.

Also like Carsello, she was once married. Her husband, Jack, passed away when he was 34, leaving her with four children, ages 7 to 12. The kids are grown now and have given her eight grandchildren, who have already become a big part of Gia's life.

"We grew up as a team," Lamond said, referring to her own kids. "We're a real tight-knit family. We're a handful when we're together. We have celebrations whenever we can."

Even with her enhanced understanding of Carsello's past, she knew that making their relationship healthy would require some effort.

"It's tough to relate to this whole thing," Lamond said. "I said (to myself), 'How am I going to get a handle on this.' What I decided to do is try to get (us) to not bury things. Just because it's over doesn't mean it never happened.

"Men have a tendency to go into 'shutdown' mode. For something like this, it's a lifetime of healing."



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