Nearly two years after a 16-year-old girl from Monroeville was bludgeoned to death, a jury found the man accused of attacking her guilty.
Prosecutors say John Mullarkey stabbed Demi Cuccia to death in 2007 because he was about to get dumped.
During the trial, the defense suggested that Accutane, the acne drug that Mullarkey had been taking, affected his mental state.
Because Accutane was taken off the market, the defense made a last-minute effort to get the judge to grant a mistrial, but the motion was denied.
The jury was given the case at 12:30 p.m. and reached a verdict by 2 p.m.
They found Mullarkey guilty of first degree murder.
The judge sentenced him to life in prison.
The family of Demi Cuccia left the courtroom in tears, but they were gratified by the work of the prosecution.
“Justice was served today and Mark Tranquilli did an exceptional job,” says Gary Cuccia, Demi’s father.
“He’s a man of integrity and it takes a special man to represent my daughter and he did a great job.
“And I will personally forever be grateful to him as well as my family so I’m just glad to see that justice was served because my daughter was brutally murdered and nobody deserves to die like that,” he added.
Demi Cuccia’s grandmother, Carole Roberts, read a statement to reporters.
“The family of Demi Brae Cuccia is pleased and thankful that Mr. Tranquilli and his staff have convicted this despicable, evil monster for the horrendous, cruel torture as he murdered my precious granddaughter Demi,” she said.
Jody Cuccia, Demi’s mother, says her family is still hurting.
“I have been critically wounded as has my family from this horrific tragedy and the painful scars run long and deep,” she said.
“And I love you Demi and we all miss Demi and hopefully by hearing this tragic story many lives will be saved,” Jody Cuccia added.
For more information on the Demi Brae Cuccia Memorial Foundation promoting prevention of domestic violence, visit: http: http://www.demi-cuccia.virtual-memorials.com.
Monroeville Man Gets Life Sentence In Teen’s Death
A man from Monroeville will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing a Gateway High School cheerleader to death two years ago.
Jurors took less than two hours yesterday to find John Mullarkey guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Demi Cuccia.
Mullarkey’s defense attorneys argued that the acne drug, Accutane, put him in a psychotic state the night that he stabbed Cuccia 16 times.
But jurors apparently refuted the argument and unanimously agreed that Mullarkey intended to kill Cuccia.
After the sentencing, the victim’s father thanked prosecutors.
“Justice was served today and Mark Tranquilli did an exceptional job,” Gary Cuccia told reporters. “He’s a man of integrity and it takes a special man to represent my daughter and he did a great job and I will personally forever be grateful for him as well as my family.”
“I’m just glad to see that justice was served, Gary Cuccia added, “because my daughter was brutally murdered and nobody deserves to die like that.”
Demi Cuccia’s family has set up a fund and website to help raise awareness about teen domestic violence.