Original article no longer available
New York Post
By PERRY CHIARMONTE and LEONARD GREENE
February 8, 2005
A suicidal mom, despondent over her divorce and struggling with her teenage daughter, beat the 14-year-old to death with a hammer and shovel before she tried to kill herself on a New Jersey highway, police said yesterday.
Cops found a disoriented Lynn Giovanni, 45, Sunday afternoon near a highway exit in Berkeley Heights, where she had crashed her car into a guardrail in an apparent suicide attempt.
There, according to prosecutors, she told state troopers about her horrible crime: How she bashed in her daughter’s head while the teenager slept and took off in her car to end her own life.
Troopers called police in Roselle Park, where Giovanni lives with her mother and daughter. Moments later, cops found the bloody body of Nicole Giovanni.
“It was absolutely premeditated,” said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. “This young girl’s life was taken without any purpose. It is inexplicable why any parent would ever take the life of a child.
“We mourn her loss, and we will prosecute her mother,” he said.
Romankow said Nicole, a well-liked freshman at Roselle Catholic HS, was sleeping at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday when her mother came into her room and struck her several times in the head with a hammer and then once with a shovel.
Lynn Giovanni fled in a 2000 Honda Civic and was discovered eight hours later, after she crashed her car on Route 78 nearby.
Romankow said no argument immediately preceded the attack.
Giovanni’s mother, Angela Gravina, was not home at the time of the murder, Romankow said.
Gravina was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Giovanni, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, was taken to Overlook Hospital in Summit before she was transferred to the Trenton Psychiatric Institute, where she was being held on $250,000 bail and charged with murder.
Friends said Giovanni suffered from depression and had difficulty dealing with a string of misfortunes, including a recent divorce, job difficulties and trouble with Nicole.
“She suffered every day of her life,” said a friend named Chris. “She was on a lot of medication, and I wondered if that had anything to do with this.”
Friends said Lynn Giovanni had written a book, “Judicial System Loopholes,” last year that slammed the court’s treatment of domestic violence. Giovanni used the nom de plume “Faith Hope.”
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Mom Sentenced For Hammering Daughter — (CBS News)
By/ Sean Alfano/ AP
December 1, 2006, 2:25 PM
An enlargement of a photo of Nicole Giovanni, 14, sits on the floor at her father, John Giovanni’s, home in Union, N.J., Friday, Nov. 17, 2006. (AP Photo/Mike Derer) / AP Photo
A woman who bludgeoned her 14-year-old daughter to death with a hammer and shovel sat impassively in court Friday as her stepchildren and ex-husband called her evil and said she deserved to die instead of spending more than 25 years in prison.
Lynn Giovanni, 47, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and must serve 25½ years before becoming eligible for parole for killing her daughter, Nicole, as the teen slept in February 2005.
Clad in a blue jail pullover, her hands cuffed in front of her, Lynn Giovanni showed no emotion during the hour-long proceeding, although her cheeks grew red when her ex-husband and several other relatives said she deserved to get the death penalty.
“Through my faith in God, some day I will be reunited with Nicole in heaven, and she and I will finally be at peace,” her ex-husband, John Giovanni, said in court. “You, Lynn, will never see her again. May you sit in prison and reflect every day on what you have done. May you never have any peace in your life.
“Lynn, may you and your soul rot and burn in hell for eternity,” he said. “You are the devil. May you burn in hell.”
Lynn Giovanni did not speak in court, other than to answer “yes” when Superior Court Judge Scott Moynihan asked her if she had signed a plea agreement form.
Her public defender, Peter Liguori, said Giovanni is mentally ill, though that does not excuse what she did. A psychiatrist at a state prison hospital diagnosed her with bipolar disorder, among other mental illnesses, he said.
“She is truly sorry,” Liguori said. “No words could possibly express the depth of her sorrow or the void that will exist in her life forever without her daughter Nicole.”
But Nicole’s brother, Jonathan, ridiculed those claims and said his stepmother deserved to die.
“I have never once seen the face of someone who is remorseful or sorry,” he told the judge. “I have never seen eyes water up. I do not think she is sorry. She did what she wanted to do to hurt all of us.”
Although she pleaded guilty to murder in October, prosecutors and her public defender agreed Friday to amend the plea deal to substitute a charge of aggravated manslaughter.
Assistant Union County Prosecutor Ann Luvera said under the original deal both sides agreed on the 25½-year minimum term. A murder charge requires a minimum 30-year period of parole ineligibility, she said.
John Giovanni said he wanted a full trial but agreed to the plea deal to spare his surviving children from hearing the gruesome testimony a trial would entail.
He said that two weeks before the killing, Lynn called him and said she wanted Nicole to go live with him, claiming the girl was causing more problems than she could handle. They agreed that Nicole would move in with her father in two weeks. A week later, she was dead.
John Giovanni is working with several state legislators to get a new law passed that would mandate life in prison without parole for anyone convicted of killing a child aged 16 or younger. Currently, mandatory life sentences are reserved only for those convicted of killing a child in a sexually related assault.
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