When he gets out of prison, Brandon Palladino stands to inherit more than $200,000 from the mother-in-law he was convicted of killing. Her family is outraged.
Palladino, 24, was convicted in the December 2008 death of Dianne Edwards, the mother of his wife, Deanna. He admitted killing Edwards, 59, when she found him trying to steal jewelry from her home on New York’s Long Island, the New York Post reports.
Edwards left her estate to her daughter, who died in February, according to the Post.
The inheritance to Palladino has Edwards’ family furious.
“It’s an outrage,” Donna Larsen, Edwards’ sister, told the Post. “He can’t have that money — it’s just not right. It’s ludicrous.”
“He took her life — he can’t take her money, too,” said Andy Larsen, Donna’s husband.
Palladino pleaded guilty to manslaughter in October and faces up to 25 years, Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, told AOL News by e-mail.
“Whether or not the victim’s relatives will contest the allocation of her assets is a matter for civil court,” he wrote.
Ray Madoff, a Boston College law professor, agreed. Madoff told AOL News that all states prevent killers from inheriting from their victims, but Palladino’s situation is unlikely to be spelled out in the law.
However, she said a civil challenge may be difficult because of the circumstances.
“He didn’t kill the wife, and she had the freedom to decide what to do with the property,” said Madoff, who teaches trusts and estates. “He’s not inheriting as a result of a crime. It’s a more tangential inheritance.”
Donna Larsen says she’d rather the money go to charity or the state than to Palladino, described as a heroin addict. She said she’ll ask Suffolk Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle to throw out Palladino’s plea deal unless he agrees to forfeit what remains of the estate.
Edwards, who was choked to death, left $431,000 to her daughter, the Post said. Deanna Palladino used some of the $190,000 her mother had in savings to fund her husband’s defense after he was arrested in November 2009. Before that, the couple used some of the money for a cruise.
Palladino stands to inherit what’s left — $241,000 from the sale of Edwards’ home, the same home in which she was slain, the newspaper reported.
Larsen thinks her niece was in on the killing, though she was not charged.
“She gave him the key to my sister’s house, and then they later went there together before the police were called,” Larsen told the Post. “She was part of the cover-up and even pawned some of my sister’s jewelry. It’s a slap in the face.”