Marianna man begins serving 3 life terms for killing wife, two children
A Washington County man was sentenced to three life terms Tuesday for killing his estranged wife and two small children nearly two years ago.
Orlando Guarino, 40, of Marianna, pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder for the July 9, 2008, deaths of Ashley Guarino, 22, his daughter, Dreux, 2, and son Orlando Jr., 11 months.
He was immediately sentenced by county Common Pleas Court Judge John DiSalle to three consecutive life terms with no chance for parole.
Police said Mr. Guarino severely beat and strangled his wife, who had recently moved out of the family's Marianna home with the couple's children. She had filed for and was granted a protection from abuse order after violent encounters with her husband.
Mrs. Guarino's body was found, bruised and bloody, in the laundry room of the Marianna home, and the children were found dead in their beds. Both were suffocated. Mrs. Guarino had been to the home to pick up her children after visitation with their father.
County District Attorney Steven Toprani had been seeking the death penalty for Mr. Guarino, who planned to employ an insanity defense at his trial, which was set to start later this week.
However, Mr. Toprani said plea negotiations recently ramped up after the victims' family members began having second thoughts about a trial and death sentence.
"They had reservations about going through a trial," he said. "They are very private people, and they were concerned about possible appeals that could be ongoing" as a result of the death penalty.
"That weighed heavily on our decision," Mr. Toprani said. "The family is relieved that Mr. Guarino will account for his actions."
Mr. Guarino has been housed in the county jail since his arrest and will immediately begin serving his sentence.
Steve Maze, Mrs. Guarino's father, said he was satisfied with the plea bargain, especially because Mr. Guarino "finally" acknowledged his guilt and showed remorse for his actions.
In court, Mr. Guarino apologized to Mr. Maze and other family members, saying that he should have sought further mental health counseling when he was ordered to do by Judge DiSalle during his June 2008 protection-from-abuse hearing.
Also in court, family members played a video and photo slideshow of Mrs. Guarino and her children.
"That really broke him down," Mr. Maze said of his son-in-law.
Although Mr. Maze was able to address Mr. Guarino during the court proceedings, he asked the judge for permission to speak privately later with Mr. Guarino.
"I'm not done with him yet," said Mr. Maze, who raised Mrs. Guarino and her older sister after their mother left. "I want some answers. I know he'll open up to me."
Mr. Guarino agreed to the conference, which is to be organized by the court.
Mr. Maze said he was grateful not to have to relive the "heartbreaking" details of his daughter's last moments.
"I wanted him to get life in prison so he could spend the rest of his life thinking about what he did and what he's missing," he said.
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