Wendi Andriano husband became ill and he was unable to work and soon thereafter she decided that she did not want to take care of him and decided her best course was to kill him. According to court documents Andriano would ask friends to pose as her husband in order to take out life insurance policies and she spent her free time researching how to kill her computer online.
Eventually Wendi would start adding powerful medication capsules to his coffee and on the day he would die she would call the ambulance saying her husband was having a heart attack however when they showed up she turned them away. Wendi would call the ambulance back later in the day after she struck him several times with a blunt object and stabbed him in the neck. Wendi Andriano claimed abuse at her trial however none of her friends or family saw any indication of abuse. Andriano would be convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
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|ADC#:191593Inmate Name:ANDRIANO, WENDI E.|
|Comments:Wendi Andriano’s husband became seriously ill and had to cease working. Allegedly resentful of her responsibilities, Wendi Andriano began frequenting bars and engaging in extramarital affairs. As her discontent increased, she hatched a scheme to kill her husband and profit from his death. She asked her friends if they would pose as her husband so that she could obtain a life insurance policy. |
She researched the effects of various poisons and how to obtain them discreetly. Andriano ordered poison and had it sent to a separate business. Although Andriano claimed that she was physically and psychologically abused by her husband, none of her friends ever observed any signs of abuse. Andriano began slipping sodium azide capsules to her husband.
In the early morning hours of October 8, 2000, Andriano called 911 to report that her husband was having a heart attack, but when paramedics arrived, she turned them away. Several hours later, she again called 911 to report that she had stabbed and beaten him in self-defense. When paramedics arrived, they found Joe Andriano dead from repeated beatings and a stab wound to the neck. Weak from the poisoning and chemotherapy, he was unable to defend himself against Andriano, who struck him at least 20 times with a barstool before stabbing him in the neck.
Proceedings:Presiding Judge: Hon. Brian K. Ishikawa Prosecutor: Juan Martinez Defense Counsel: Daniel Patterson & David Delozier Start of Trial: August 23, 2004 Verdict: November 18, 2004 Sentencing: December 22, 2004
Aggravating:Especially heinous, cruel or depraved
Mitigating:None sufficient to call for leniency
Pub Opinions:[Direct Appeal pending before the Arizona Supreme Court]
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In 2004, Wendi Andriano was convicted of one count of first-degree murder and sentenced to death for the killing of her terminally ill husband. The following facts are taken from the opinion of the Arizona Supreme Court affirming the conviction and sentence, State v. Andriano, 215 Ariz. 497, 161 P.3d 540 (2007), and from the Court’s review of the record.
At about 2:15 a.m. on October 8, 2000, Andriano called Chris, a coworker who lived at the same apartment complex, and asked her to watch the Andrianos’ two children while she took her husband, Joe, to the doctor. Wendi Andriano met Chris outside the apartment and told her Joe was dying. She also stated that she hadn’t called 911 yet. Chris urged her to do so.
Upon entering the apartment, Chris found Joe lying on the living room floor in the fetal position. He had vomited, appeared weak, and was having difficulty breathing. While Wendi Andriano was in another room calling 911, Joe told Chris that he needed help and had “for a long time.” He asked why it was taking 45 minutes for the paramedics to show up.
Chris heard the paramedics arrive and went outside to direct them to the apartment. As the paramedics were unloading their equipment, Andriano came out of the apartment screaming at them to leave. She returned to the apartment and slammed the door. Chris and the paramedics knocked on the door but no one answered. The Phoenix Fire Department called the Andrianos’ home telephone in an attempt to get Wendi Andriano to open the door. They notified the paramedics that contact had been made with someone in the apartment who would come out to speak with them. Instead of coming out the front door, which opened onto the living room, Andriano went out through the back door, climbed over the patio wall, and walked around the apartment building to the front door. She had changed her shirt and her hair was wet. Wendi Andriano told the paramedics that Joe was dying of cancer and had a do-not-resuscitate order. The paramedics left without entering the apartment.
Wendi Andriano called 911 again at 3:39 a.m. The same paramedics responded. When they entered the apartment they found Joe lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood. As determined by the medical examiner, Joe had sustained brain hemorrhaging caused by more than 20 blows to the back of his head. He had also suffered a stab wound to the side of his neck that severed his carotid artery. A broken bar stool covered in blood was found near Joe’s body, along with pieces of a lamp, a bloody kitchen knife, a bloody pillow, and a belt.
Trace amounts of the poison sodium azide were found in Joe’s blood and gastric contents, and in the contents of a pot and two soup bowls in the kitchen. Police also found gelatin capsules filled with sodium azide.
Defensive wounds on Joe’s hands and wrists indicated that he was conscious for at least part of the attack. Blood spatter and other evidence indicated that he was lying down during the attack. The absence of arterial spurting on the belt and the knife indicated that the items were placed beside Joe’s body after he died.
At trial, Wendi Andriano testified that Joe, who was suffering from terminal cancer and had been contemplating suicide, decided to take his life that night and swallowed several of the sodium azide capsules. The poison failed to kill him, however, and he became verbally abusive, accusing Andriano of infidelity and violently attacking her when she admitted to an affair. Andriano testified that Joe tried to strangle her with a telephone cord but she was able to cut the cord with a knife. When Joe picked up the knife she struck him with the bar stool in self-defense. She then hid in the bathroom but when she returned Joe still had the knife in his hand and was threatening to kill himself. She testified that she tried to stop him and during the resulting struggle his neck was cut.
Andriano also presented evidence, including expert testimony, that she was a victim of domestic abuse. Andriano testified that throughout the course of their marriage Joe had been emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. The expert testified about the psychological effects of domestic abuse.
The jury found Wendi Andriano guilty of first-degree murder. During the penalty phase, the jury found one aggravating factor: that the murder had been committed in an “especially cruel manner” under A.R.S. § 13-751(F)(6). The jury then found that the evidence presented in mitigation was not sufficiently substantial to call for leniency and returned a verdict of death.
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A 34-year-old Ahwatukee Foothills woman was convicted Thursday of poisoning, beating and stabbing her terminally ill husband to death in October 2000 and now faces the possibility of the death penalty.
If sentenced to death, Wendi Andriano would become the second woman on Arizona’s death row. Jurors, who took 2 1 /2 hours to return their verdict, will begin hearing evidence in the penalty phase Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
After the guilty verdict was announced, Andriano glanced sharply at defense attorney David DeLozier. Her husband’s parents and two sisters, one of whom is raising the couple’s two small children, cried quietly and exchanged hugs.
“This is a relief for us because now we can get on with our life, and the children can get on with their life and have the normal family life they deserve,” said Jeanea Lambeth, one of the sisters.
Jurors were told Andriano grew tired of the time it was taking Joseph Andriano, 33, to die and devised a plan to poison him with the pesticide sodium azide. Prosecutor Juan Martinez said Wendi Andriano believed she could receive as much as $20 million if her husband died before their medical malpractice suit went to trial.
Not only did Wendi Andriano have two affairs in the weeks before her husband’s death, but she called multiple insurance companies in an attempt to get policies on her husband, Martinez said. She also asked two men to impersonate Joseph Andriano during the required physical exams — offering one of them $10,000 to do so, the prosecutor said.
Wendi Andriano’s attorneys, DeLozier and Dan Patterson, painted her as a meek and battered wife desperate for affection.
Andriano testified that her husband was the one who devised a plan that would end his life on his terms and provide life insurance for their two children, Nicholas, then 3, and Ashley, then 2. It was at his insistence, she claimed, that she purchased the insecticide under a false name and tried to purchase extra life insurance.
Wendi Andriano said that on the day of her husband’s death he voluntarily took the poison in pill form and stabbed himself in the neck after learning she had a one-night stand. She said she beat her enraged husband repeatedly with a bar stool in self-defense.
According to court testimony, Joseph Andriano was struck in the head 23 times and the pesticide was found in a pot of soup and two bowls.
Wendi Andriano faces either life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, life without parole, or the death penalty. She could receive the death penalty if the jury finds the slaying was especially cruel, heinous and depraved and because the motivating factor was money.
If given the death penalty, Andriano will join Debra Milke on death row. Milke was convicted of hiring two friends to shoot her 4-year-old son to death in December 1989 because she didn’t want him to grow up to be like his father. The boy went with the men believing he was going to visit Santa Claus