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Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Trial begins in Passarella murder
Trial is underway for a local woman indicted in the 2015 murder of sixty-nine year old Lawrenceburg resident Sam John Passarella.
Passarella’s badly beaten body was discovered inside of his Crockett Senior Housing apartment on Old Florence Road on May 19, 2015. He had reportedly died as the result of blunt force trauma.
During a special-called session of the Lawrence County Grand Jury in February of 2016, panel members returned indictments against thirty-six year old Crystal Gregoire after she was identified as the primary suspect. The grand jury indicted Gregoire, an acquaintance of Passarella, on charges of first degree murder, aggravated assault, tampering with evidence, and theft.
Jury selection continued throughout the day on Monday. Tuesday morning jurors began to hear testimony from officers who responded to the scene and those who investigated the case.
At one point Investigator Tommy Goetz testified that Gregoire had attempted to deflect suspicion away from herself by telling them about a drug case under investigation through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
An informant had reportedly identified Passarella as a suspect in the sale of marijuana, and Passarella had obtained TBI paperwork detailing the case. Goetz said they turned over a recliner at his home and found a manila envelope that contained the paperwork. He said that they investigated this lead but found no evidence that it was related to Passarella’s death.