HILLTOWN TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania woman who is the co-owner of a pizza shop is accused of fatally shooting her partner, hiding his body inside her home for more than a week and then paying someone to dig a hole in her yard to bury the man, authorities said.
Anna Maria Tolomello, 48, of Hilltown Township, was charged with homicide, abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and possession of an instrument of crime, according to WCAU-TV. She is accused of fatally shooting Giovanni Gallina, 65, of Hilltown Township, the television station reported. The couple owned Pina’s Pizza in Chalfont, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Tolomello was arraigned Wednesday and remained in custody on Thursday after she was denied bail, the newspaper reported.
According to a police affidavit, Tolomello described Gallina as her common-law husband. She admitted to investigators that she shot Gallina in the head on March 16 and kept his body wrapped in a tarp and comforter in the bedroom of their home, the affidavit stated.
Tolomello told authorities that Gallina was choking her in their bedroom, adding that her actions were in self-defense, the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
The investigation began after Gallina’s son, who lives in Italy, reported on Tuesday that he spoke almost daily by telephone with his father, but had not been able to reach him since March 16, The Trentonian reported. He added that Tolomello would only say that Gallina was away on business, according to the newspaper.
Detectives from Hilltown Township interviewed Tolomello after she hired a local contractor to dig a hole in her driveway, where prosecutors said she prepared to bury Gallina’s body and pave over it, the Inquirer reported. The contactor told police that Tolomello sent a text on March 19 asking him to dig a hole in her driveway because she wanted to “bury one or more items,” according to the affidavit.
According to police, Tolomello told the contractor she would fill in the hole herself and cover it in blacktop, WCAU reported.
Under surveillance by investigators, the contractor went to Tolomello’s home and dug the hole and was paid $350, the television station reported.
When the man asked Tolomello about Gallina’s whereabouts, she was recorded as saying, “he is away,” according to the affidavit.
Another person told police that Tolomello had reached out to ask about “any tricks” for getting rid of a skunk smell in her garage, the Courier Times reported.
A man who answered the phone at the pizzeria Thursday afternoon declined to comment, the Inquirer reported.
Richard McElhattan, of Levittown, who worked at Pina’s Pizzeria for six years, said Gallina and Tolomello were devoted to the business’ success.
“That business was their life,” McElhattan told the newspaper. “They never took a day off.”
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