A former Arizona Department of Corrections officer accused of killing his wife earlier this month pleaded not guilty to murder in a Maricopa County Superior Court this morning.
"She is definitely dead -- I put two to the chest and one to the head."
That's what the officer, Anthony Rinaldi -- now a former Department of Corrections officer -- told a Department of Public Safety officer less than 30 minutes after fatally shooting his wife, 28-year-old Amanda Rinaldi, at the Phoenix home the couple shared.
Rinaldi, 26, also told detectives he "snapped" as the two were arguing and that his "military training kicked in" before gunning down his wife.
According to court records obtained by New Times, Rinaldi has a long history of domestic violence. He also has a history of threatening suicide, and police suspect he may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder caused by his time in the military.
About 6:20 p.m. on December 13, Rinaldi's 7-year-old step-son called 9-1-1 to report that his mother and step-father were arguing about money. The boy told the dispatcher he heard a "boom, boom, boom" come from the garage."
About five minutes later, Rinaldi also called 9-1-1 to report that he shot his wife three times. He told the dispatcher he was no longer at the couple's home and that he planned to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. Then he hung up.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher called Rinaldi back, at which point he told her he was pulling up behind a DPS officer on the side of the I-10.
After pulling over behind the DPS officer, Rinaldi got out of his car, put his right hand over his head as he used his left hand to hold a cell phone to his ear, and told the officer "you're gonna want to put me in handcuffs, sir."
When DPS Officer Robert Hicks asked Rinaldi why he'd want to put him in handcuffs, Rinaldi told him to "talk to the guy on the phone -- I just shot my wife."
Rinaldi didn't say why he'd shot his wife, but told Hicks that he "flipped," and that she "was definitely dead."
Hicks took Rinaldi into custody. While searching Rinaldi's vehicle, the officer found a loaded handgun on the passenger seat.
DOC officials say Rinaldi's been "dismissed" from the department. His next court appearance is scheduled for February 10.
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