A reduced sentence for murdering out of jealousy

A man saw his sentence reduced from 30 years to 16 after strangling a woman he had been seeing for a month. The judge ruled that his jealousy was a mitigating factor.

Ingrid Colanicchia
Ingrid Colanicchia MicroMega, Italy
Source: MicroMega
A reduced sentence for murdering out of jealousy - NewsMavens
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Why this story matters:

Jealousy is not the only reason given by the Bologna Court of Appeal for reducing Michele Castaldo's sentence from 30 to 16 years, but still, it is one of the three reasons given. Besides other considerations, this is paradoxical, because the same paragraph of the sentence mentions that jealousy was not a sufficient reason to undermine the free will of the defendant.

Yes, you read correctly: jealousy was NOT SUFFICIENT to undermine the man's will to commit femicide. Which implicitly means he was in full possession of his faculties.

Logically, one can only wonder why jealousy is then mentioned as a mitigating factor. We cannot help but be reminded of the "honor killing" clause (revoked only in 1981), which called for a reduced sentence when the killing of a wife, daughter or sister occurred after an "illegitimate carnal relationship" or in "a state of anger caused by offense brought to one's own or family honor."

Details from the story:

  • On October 5, 2016, Olga Matei was strangled by Michele Castaldo, a man with whom she had been in a relationship for a month. He immediately confessed the crime, explaining that jealousy and fear of losing Matei had led to his actions.
  • He was convicted of murder aggravated by futile or abject motives, a crime sanctioned with life imprisonment. The sentence was reduced to 30 years because the defendant chose the so-called "shortened proceedings": the choice of this procedure avoids the delays of the ordinary process and is automatically rewarded by a one-third reduction of the sentence normally imposed for this type of crime.
  • The Bologna Court of Appeal recognized aggravating circumstances -- abject or futile motives -- but also acknowledged generic extenuating circumstances, judging them sufficient to reduce the sentence to 16 years.
  • The three reasons that led the judge to recognize extenuating circumstances were: 1) the confession of the accused, especially his providing proof of abject or futile motives; 2) the willingness of the accused to compensate the minor daughter of the victim; 3) the jealousy felt by the accused, which, while it was considered insufficient to invalidate the capacity for self-determination of the accused, led to what psychiatric experts called "an overwhelming emotional and passionate storm" due to the accused's unhappy past affective experiences.
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