Northshore woman pleads guilty in murder-for-hire plot
A woman charged with hiring three men to kill her husband is awaiting official sentencing to life in prison, but has avoided the death penalty when she pleaded guilty in a St. Tammany Parish courtroom to first-degree murder.
Gina Scramuzza, 45, was sentenced by Judge August Hand Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole or suspended sentence for her role in Mario Scramuzza's 2009 slaying.
"The sentencing of Gina definitely brings closure," said Patrick Sicard, who worked with Mario Scramuzza at Fire District No. 3 in Lacombe.
Sicard said Scramuzza worked at the fire district for about a year. In that time, he left an impression on the people at the station, Sicard said. "People still continuously talk about him and his sense of humor," he said. "We have a memorial -- pictures and his fire gear -- at the station. He's still remembered."
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office detectives arrested Gina Scramuzza in February 2009, days after her husband's body was discovered beaten and strangled inside the laundry room of their Covington-area home.
Authorities said Gina Scramuzza hired Carlos Rodriguez, Luis Starlyn Hernandez Rodriguez and Erly Montoya-Matute to kill her husband, a Folsom-area paramedic and volunteer firefighter. The couple had a teenage son.
Carlos Rodriguez, 42, is set to face trial early next year. The state is seeking the death penalty.
Luis Starlyn Hernandez Rodriguez was convicted of first-degree murder last year and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole or suspended sentence. Also last year, Montoya-Matute pleaded guilty to manslaughter and armed robbery with the use of a firearm. He has not been sentenced.