Former prosecutor: Gabby Petito’s strangulation is being considered a “crime of passion.”


Former prosecutor: Gabby Petito’s strangulation is being considered a “crime of passion.”

According to a former federal prosecutor, Gabby Petito’s killing could be considered a “crime of passion.”

Petito, 22, died of strangulation three to four weeks before her corpse was discovered near the Grand Teton National Park border in northern Wyoming on September 19, according to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue.

Petito had gone missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. Last month, Laundrie, a person of interest in Petito’s abduction, returned to his parents’ house in Florida alone, but then vanished and has yet to be found.

Petito’s death had previously been considered a homicide by the coroner, but the cause of death was withheld pending autopsy results. Petito died from “manual strangulation/throttling,” according to a paper signed by Dr. Blue last week. Strangulation and strangling, according to former prosecutor Mary Fulginiti, is “using your hands to physically kill someone.” “It’s a horrible and violent crime and it’s certainly purposeful, which would equal murder,” she told Ashleigh Banfield on NewsNation’s Banfield when asked if Petito’s death could have been an accident. Banfield went on to ask if defense attorneys could use a “rough sex” defense.

“There are cases where people have rough sex and use strangulation,” Fulginiti responded, “and that would obviously lower it in terms of what the possible crime would be.”

“But I believe that, given all of the evidence and what we know about the timeline so far, and given the violent behavior that we’ve seen exposed, you know, from Brian Landrie, that they’re looking at this more like a crime of passion, which we also see with strangulation, and in those circumstances, sadly, it’s typically between people who know each other and usually an intentional act,” she says.

Banfield and Fulginiti also talked about the DNA found in Petito’s body. Blue didn’t specify if it was hers or someone else’s.

If detectives decide the DNA does not belong to Laundrie, Fulginiti said it would be a “symbol of relief” for him and that the case will be explored further.

“However, when you look at this case and examine the autopsy report, what little we have of it, you can see exactly what happened. This is a condensed version of the information.


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