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NJ Officer Accused of Killing Estranged Wife, Hurting Her Boyfriend in Shooting Pleads Not Guilty

Lt. John Formisano, a 24-year veteran, said he "blacked out" but remembered firing his gun multiple times at his wife and the boyfriend

What to Know

  • A New Jersey cop has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder in the slaying of his estranged wife and wounding of her boyfriend
  • Lt. John Formisano, a 24-year veteran, said he "blacked out" but remembered firing his gun multiple times at his wife and the boyfriend
  • Formisano has been charged with murder, attempted murder, child endangerment and weapons-related offenses

A suspended New Jersey police lieutenant has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder in the slaying of his estranged wife and the wounding of her boyfriend last month.

Lt. John Formisano, a 24-year veteran of the Newark force, appeared Wednesday in Morris County court via video from a human services facility.

Authorities say 37-year-old Christine Solaro-Formisano was found dead on her porch and a 40-year-old man was found inside with multiple gunshot wounds. Authorities allege that the 49-year-old defendant told investigators he was dropping off something for one of his children and "blacked out" when he saw a man in her bedroom.

Defense attorney Anthony Iacullo said his client had agreed to detention at the facility and hopefully would someday be able to "meaningfully participate in his defense."

Last week, records obtained by News 4 showed two 911 calls were made the night the police lieutenant allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife in July. 

"She's dying in front of my house. There's somebody shot on my front steps," said one upset caller. She was so disturbed she wasn't even able at first to say where she lived, identifying the alleged shooter as a Newark cop "who lives on the corner." The 911 dispatcher got the woman to calm down a bit, at which point she said again, "She's dying in front of my house." 

The same neighbor told 911 she witnessed the shooting from her window. At the same time, another 911 call came in from another neighbor reporting a woman bleeding on the steps. 

"The guy is a Newark cop," the caller said. "My wife saw him in the car in his police uniform. I think he shot his ex-wife." 

Formisano then allegedly shot and killed Christine Solaro-Formisano at the Mirror Place home in Jefferson, and shot the boyfriend several times, a court affidavit said. According to the affidavit, Formisano had called the house that night, July 14, and talked to his wife, with whom he was going through a divorce.

After the call, Christine Formisano told her boyfriend she saw a flashlight outside -- and that it was her husband, the court records say. 

The panicked wife exited the bedroom, locking the door behind her, officials said. The boyfriend, identified as T.S., said he heard Christine yell "he's got a gun" and "call 911" before shots were fired. Formisano then broke down the bedroom door, repeatedly shooting the boyfriend in his thigh, abdomen, arms and hand.

The Formisanos' two children, both under the age of 10, were in the home and nearby as that unfolded, the affidavit said.

Christine Formisano fled the residence soon after, desperately trying to get into neighbors' homes for help as she was badly wounded, the investigation found. A witness said she saw the officer at one of the neighboring homes -- and that she watched him fire his handgun. That was likely when the 911 calls came in.

Three hours later, cops found Formisano in a Livingston parking lot with his car, a handgun found in the trunk. He told law enforcement that he remembered firing his gun multiple times at his wife and the boyfriend, who is now recovering from what were serious injuries.

Formisano has been charged with murder, attempted murder, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and weapon possession.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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