Guido Puccini, the Florida man whose kidnapping last month led to his arrest as an Arizona fugitive, escaped justice for 23 years.
In 1992, Puccini admitted to having sex with a young girl, molesting her repeatedly and telling her "this is what people do when they love each other," according to a faded Mesa police report reviewed by New Times.
He was convicted by a Maricopa County jury of kidnapping and attempted child molestation, even though he fled the state before his trial. We published a blog post about Puccini's arrest after a Florida TV news station broke the story.
Puccini is scheduled for a bench-warrant court hearing this morning. He's being held in Maricopa County jail on a $200,000 bond, having already been behind bars in St. Port Lucie, Florida, for a month before being flown to Maricopa County last week.
This all following the frightful kidnapping and home-invasion that police say Puccini, 56, and his ex-wife experienced on December 4.
Sergeant Frank Sabol of the Port St. Lucie Police Department told us that they believe the kidnapping report was legitimate -- and unrelated to Puccini's Arizona troubles. Puccini and Gloria Jaramillo were accosted in Puccini's home by three armed men demanding money, Sabol says. The couple was bound and held in the trunk of a car for hours. Puccini was punched and taken to an unknown home while blindfolded. Both victims were later released relatively unharmed. Sabol says the kidnappers thought Puccini was a rich car-dealership owner. Puccini owns a small car-repair shop and told the kidnappers he was "poor."
When police searched Puccini's home for evidence that could lead to the capture of the kidnappers, (who are still at large), they found evidence that Puccini had been living a double life. He'd told them his name was Jose Querbino Puccini, and he had a driver's license in that name. Cops found a Venezuelan passport and second driver's license in the name of Guido Jesus Puccini, and ran his name up to U.S. Homeland Security, which reported the 1993 bench warrant.
Mesa police, at New Times' request, made a copy of the 1992 police report from microfiche archives. The details are a heart-breaking story of betrayal and sexual deviancy -- and, by extension, injustice due to the fact that Puccini's been free for so long.
On September 14, 1992, Puccini's previous wife (not Jaramillo) caught him and her prepubescent daughter naked in the kitchen, with Puccini attempting to put his penis in the young girl's vagina. The girl's aunt also witnessed them both naked. Puccini's wife "ran over to Guido and punched him." He took off, but later came home and was arrested.
The girl told her mother and police that Puccini had ordered to take off her clothes, telling her if she didn't do as he demanded, he'd "take her to Argentina and she would never see her mother again." She said she'd refused and he stripped her forcefully, put a hand over her mouth, positioned her on a chair, and tried to have sex with her before her mom came into the kitchen, the report states. Puccini had molested her about 10 times in the past six months in various rooms of the house, she told a detective.
After his arrest, Puccini described his acts as sort of an affair. He claims his step-daughter had been sexualized by movies she'd seen and had begun a sexual relationship by touching his penis one day without any prompting from him. Over a period of several months, he confessed, he'd kissed and fondled her, and performed oral sex on her. The report also says he admitted to the sex attempt in the kitchen.
Puccini skipped bail; a trial was held without him. Besides finding Puccini guilty of kidnapping and attempt to commit sexual misconduct with a minor, the jury in 1993 found him not guilty on one charge of child molesting, and the judge in the case dismissed another child molesting charge.
Now that he's back in town, Puccini's finally going to hear how many years in prison he'll serve, and then begin serving them. According to one lawyer's site we found, he could be facing 10 to 24 years on the kidnapping charge alone.
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UPDATE: January 23 -- After his court hearing this week, Puccini is now scheduled for a March 9 sentencing hearing. We'll update you on how much time he gets in a couple of months...
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