A man who stabbed his ex-wife 23 times, slit her throat and then barricaded himself inside another woman’s house for more than five hours while shooting at SWAT officers was sentenced to life in prison Friday.
John St. Angelo, 50, amassed a fortune by the time he was 28 with a construction business he started in Florida when he was 19, and built Wal-Marts, Walgreens, schools and hospitals, the convicted killer testified Wednesday.
Attorneys familiar with his case estimated that St. Angelo made between $5 million and $7 million over the life of the business but thought the good times would never end and never saved enough money to maintain his lifestyle.
But the good times did end.
By 2013, the year that he killed his former wife, Suzanne Parsons, all the money had virtually disappeared, and St. Angelo was working as a handyman for the RE/MAX real estate company where Parsons worked and for a property management firm that Parsons managed, according to trial testimony.
The Tarrant County jury that took 90 minutes to convict St. Angelo of a murder charge Thursday took about the same amount of time to sentence him Friday.
St. Angelo will have to serve at least 30 years before he becomes eligible for parole, according to court officials.
St. Angelo’s attorney, Kathy Lowthorp, immediately notified state District Judge George Gallagher that she would appeal.
“John St. Angelo terrorized the women in his life for 30 years, and it culminated in Suzanne Parsons’ death,” prosecutor Allenna Bangs said Friday.
“The jury put an end to his path of destruction. We are thankful to the Fort Worth Police Department officers who risked their lives to bring him to justice.”
On Friday, during the sentencing phase of the trial, prosecutors called Kim St. Angelo, a surviving ex-wife, as a witness, prosecutor Jim Hudson said. Kim St. Angelo both confirmed and denied some of the abuse St. Angelo had been accused of, Hudson said.
During her closing arguments, Lowthorp said, she used an ink pen to re-enact the passion her client felt as he stabbed Parsons 23 times. Lowthorp said she believed that built-up passion about a perceived disparity in the way Parsons treated him when he was rich and the way she treated him after he lost his money caused St. Angelo to snap.
She noted that St. Angelo did not hide his crime under cover of darkness; the crime took place during the daylight at Parsons’ office among co-workers who knew him, witnesses testified. An hour before the murder, St. Angelo left Parsons a voice mail, which was played for the jury, in which he sounded perfectly calm, Lowthorp said.
Lowthorp said she understood why the jury determined that St. Angelo was guilty and understood that the sheer number of stabbings made for a difficult defense. She said she respected the jury’s decision but was disappointed.
“He just flipped,” Lowthorp said. “The emotion, the pain he was feeling. I tried to show that passion to the jury.”
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752