Friday, March 7, 2014
SKOWHEGAN — A Detroit man awaiting trial for the murder of his father pleaded guilty Monday in Somerset Superior Court.
Angelo Licata, 34, was facing a murder charge for the July 21 bludgeoning death of Alfred Licata, 63, in Cambridge.
The guilty plea was a reversal from Licata’s not-guilty plea on Oct. 6. Sentencing will take place in about six weeks.
Frank Griffin, one of Licata’s court-appointed defense lawyers, said the plea reversal came after state prosecutors revised the wording of Licata’s charge. Licata also wanted to settle the matter quickly for the sake of his family, his lawyers said.
Griffin said the defense team recently negotiated with state prosecutors to strike a key phrase from the charge against Licata. The original charge stated Licata’s actions were “knowing and intentional,” and that he acted with “depraved indifference.”
Griffin said the team successfully argued that a person could not be charged with both, so prosecutors removed “knowing and intentional,” which satisfied Licata.
“This was an act that was not committed intentionally,” Griffin said by telephone Monday. “Angelo did not have any intent, it was not premeditated. It was a heat-of-the-moment issue that went way, way too far.”
Griffin said another reason Licata pleaded guilty Monday was to bring closure to his family.
“He wanted to take responsibility for his actions,” Griffin said. “He wanted his family to know that he wished this never happened. He honestly loved his father.”
Alfred Licata was found dead on a lawn near his home on Ham Hill Road the night of July 21. His wife, Arlene, told police she heard banging and yelling coming from the first floor of the house and found blood all over the kitchen. She dialed 911 from a neighbor’s house and said she saw her son Angelo’s vehicle in the driveway, according to court documents.
The Office of State Medical Examiner said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
Angelo Licata turned himself in at the Waterville Police Department. He is held at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.
Griffin said his client has no memory of his attack on his father.
“He remembers just before; he remembers just after,” Griffin said. “He certainly acknowledges that he caused his father’s death. He obviously confessed to it.”
Griffin said he and Licata’s other lawyer, Peter Barnett, would offer sentencing recommendations to Justice John Nivison. Griffin wouldn’t say what those recommendations will be, but said the defense team would argue that Licata suffered childhood abuse at the hands of his father.
Last month Nivison said claims that Licata had suffered physical or sexual abuse by his father would be admissible as testimony if the defense could show that the alleged childhood abuse affected his state of mind during the July 21 altercation.
Barnett could not be reached by phone Monday. An outgoing message at his law office in Bingham states the office is closed from Monday through June 25.
Assistant Attorney General Andrew Benson could not be reached by phone Monday.
Ben McCanna — 861-9239