The Christmas Tree Murder is taking a closer look at the murder of Antoinette Venditti Bruce by her coworker, Zachary Lapelusa.
Venditti Bruce, 35, and Lapelusa worked together at the Christmas Tree Shop in Orange, Connecticut. She worked as a supervisor, and it was during that time that Lapelusa developed a crush on her.
He was eventually fired for inappropriate behavior.
Lapelusa believed that Venditti Bruce, who was married with a child, was responsible for his termination.
When he learned that she was temporarily working at the Christmas Tree Shop in Middletown, Rhode Island, Lapelusa drove to her location.
He was armed with two knives.
Antoinette Venditti Bruce was found brutally murdered in a drainage ditch
On the night of March 29, 2011, Lapelusa confronted Venditti Bruce in the parking lot of the Marriott Residence Inn. He then forced her into her Honda Accord at knifepoint.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
Lapelusa stabbed Venditti Bruce several times in the car before driving to Midas Muffler Shop and stabbing her again in the parking lot.
Venditti Bruce died from her injuries.
Lapelusa then drove to Hanging Rocks Road, where he discarded her body in a ditch and covered it with an old toilet that was nearby.
He fled the scene, but it wasn’t long before police officials caught up to him.
Zachary Lapelusa was arrested for murder following a high-speed car chase
When an officer with the Middletown Police Department spotted Lapelusa in the parking lot of Third Beach, he thought he matched the description of the suspect, which was provided by an eyewitness.
The officer pursued Lapelusa, and a high-speed car chase ensued, which was followed by a brief foot chase.
Lapelusa was eventually captured and transported to the county jail, where he was held without bond.
He was charged with first-degree murder, kidnapping, and eluding police, which he pleaded guilty to in Superior Court after taking a plea deal.
While in Superior Court, Lapelusa pleaded guilty to the charges after taking a plea deal.
He also apologized for killing Venditti Bruce, whom he stabbed between 47 and 90 times, according to the Medical Examiner’s Office.
Lapelusa said, “I know it’s not going to mean much… But I’m truly sorry for what I did that day…” he said at the sentencing.”
“I did a horrible act. I’m sorry that I ruined two families that day.”
On May 10, 2013, a judge sentenced Lapelusa to life in prison for murder plus 20 years for kidnapping.
The Christmas Tree Murder airs Friday at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.