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Crime News Domestic Violence

Former Police Lieutenant Sentenced For Killing His Ex-Wife And Trying to Kill Her New Boyfriend In Presence Of His Kids

John Formisano, 52, will be over 100 years old when he's eligible for parole for murdering his ex-wife, Christie Solaro-Formisano, 37, and for trying to kill her new boyfriend, Timothy Simonson, 40. 

By Caitlin Schunn
Husbands Who Killed Their Wives

A judge sentenced a former New Jersey police lieutenant to 79 years in state prison for killing his ex-wife and trying to kill her new boyfriend.

On Monday, the judge ruled John Formisano will only be eligible for parole after he’s served about 55 years in prison, according to the Morris County Prosecutor's Office. A jury found the 52-year-old guilty of first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, and other charges, on Oct. 3.

Jefferson Township police said they responded to 911 calls of shots fired at a home on Mirror Place in Jefferson Township at around 11:30 p.m. on July 14, 2019. Officers found Christie Solaro-Formisano, 37, dead on the front porch steps. Christie’s boyfriend, Timothy Simonson, 40, was also found with multiple gunshot wounds, and two minor children were in the home, according to the New Jersey Herald. Formisano was taken into custody a few hours later. Police said the firearm he used in the attack was found in the trunk of the car he was driving. Formisano was an acting lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, but was off-duty at the time of the shootings.

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During the trial, prosecutors argued Formisano became enraged when he saw his ex-wife with Simonson inside the home they once shared, according to the New Jersey Herald. Formisano’s lawyers argued he “blacked out” when he saw the couple and did not intentionally kill her and wound him.

A social media photo of Christie Solaro-Formisano

Debbie Wagner, Solaro-Formisano’s mother, said days before the shooting, her daughter expressed fear over Formisano’s controlling impulses in a text message, the New Jersey Herald reported. Wagner said her daughter spoke to her family about how if she angered him, he would withhold money and groceries from the family. Wagner has custody of the couple’s children, and Wagner read a letter from the oldest child during the sentencing. In it, she wrote of the terror and fear she felt the night of the shooting, and said she missed the special moments she had with her mom, whom she called her best friend, the New Jersey Herald reported.

At the sentencing, Formisano talked for over a half hour about the inadequacies of the prosecutors and what he called “lies” told during the trial, according to the New Jersey Herald. He also talked about the character flaws and inadequacies of his dead ex-wife and her boyfriend.

I just listened to what may be one of the most narcissistic statements from a defendant that anyone will ever hear in a courtroom," the judge said, according to the New Jersey Herald.

During the sentencing, Formisano did not apologize for his actions, or say he regretted them, instead saying that Solaro-Formisano "pocketed" the money he would give her to hire babysitters when the couple separated and was a physical abuser who would assault him when angered, the New Jersey Herald reported. He also urged the judge to give him the "maximum" sentence since it was likely he would die in jail, and told prosecutors he would be "seeing them in about two years anyway" because he had plans to appeal the jury verdict.

Anthony Iacullo, Formisano's attorney, confirmed he plans to appeal the jury verdict, the New Jersey Herald reported.

Dale Wagner, Solaro-Formisano’s stepfather, spoke at the sentencing.

“Being a mother was her greatest joy,” he said, according to the New Jersey Herald. “She did everything for [her children].”

Wagner also called Formisano evil and said calling him an “animal would be an insult to animals,” the New Jersey Herald reported.

He and Solaro's mother each called for the maximum penalty, The New Jersey Herald said, saying they hope that Formisano's children, who are both in therapy and suffer nightmares, will never have to see their father again.

Simonson wrote a letter to the judge as well, but was not present in court for the sentencing, the New Jersey Herald said.

The judge also ordered Formisano to pay reimbursement for the medical expenses of the victims. 

Formisano’s lawyer requested that the judge vacate a prior judge's order that Formisano not contact his children. The judge extended the no-contact order for 180 days but said he was not in the position to make it definite, according to the New Jersey Herald. Prosecutors are seeking to make it a permanent bar.