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Wayne Post
  • Webster teen Michael Pilato gets maximum sentence: 15 to life

  • Michael Pilato, the teenager convicted of killing his father and two brothers after setting fire to their family's home, has been sentenced to life in prison. In June, he was convicted second...
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  • Michael Pilato, the teenager convicted of killing his father and two brothers after setting fire to their family's home, has been sentenced to the maximum 15 years to life in prison.
    In June, he was convicted of second degree murder, attempted murder and second degree arson for intentionally setting fire to the home on Cardile Drive in Webster on Dec. 7, 2011.??
    When asked if he would like to make a statement before the court today, Pilato, now 16, uttered a simple, "No."??As he delivered the sentence, Dinolfo said the case was the most tragic he'd dealt with during his career.
    "I have never seen a crime with more horrific consequences than this crime had," the judge told Pilato as he stood with his attorneys, James Nobles and Brian DeCarolis. ??
    Dinolfo added that he was again moved by the evidence presented in the case, and affirmed that the jury "did their duty...with distinction and honor" by rejecting the defense's argument that Pilato suffered from an "extreme emotional disturbance" at the time of the crime.
    The blaze took the life of his adoptive father Carmen, 71, and brothers Peter Pilato, 16, and Joshua, 12. His adoptive mother, Elaine Pilato, and daughter Elizabeth, who was then 13, escaped the fire.
    ?"You will spend your whole life trying to avoid consequences you have incurred for your own actions, and I cannot let you do that," he said.
    Before the sentence was delivered, a member of Pilato's family addressed the court. Angel Pilato-Shuman, his stepsister and biological daughter of the late Carmen Pilato.
    She repeated that Michael was adopted into a loving home as an infant and was given every opportunity to have a bright future. Losing their father and brothers was loss felt by them and the rest of the community.
    "They loved him, and he murdered them in return," said Pilato-Shuman, who later added,"He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars...How could he place so little value on life? I will never understand."
    County District Attorney Sandra Doorley also spoke before sentencing, pointing to testimony that described him as a "budding sociopath," and read portions of family letters that asked for a life sentence to ensure the family will remain safe for years to come.
    In addressing the court, Pilato's attorney James Nobles said the tragedy was unfortunate, but the defendant suffered no clinical disorder that would qualify him as a "sociopath." Instead, his only diagnosis in treatment leading up to the crime was ADHD.
    After the sentence, Michael's adoptive mother Elaine Pilato read reporters a letter she'd previously addressed to Judge Dinolfo, asking him to show mercy on her son and allow him to serve his term on house arrest, where he could receive continued counseling. She said he has changed since he became drug free.
    Page 2 of 2 - As for his actions, "Michael snapped that night," Elaine Pilato wrote.
    The letter described her suffering — first losing her husband and two children to a deadly fire, and now another son to prison.
    "I have a lot of guilt because parents are supposed to save their children," she said. "I did not, and that, I have to live with it."
     
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