Woman on Trial for Ex-Husband’s Death

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BLOOMSBURG -- A woman is on trial in Columbia County for the death of her ex-husband more than three years ago.

Maria Sanutti-Spencer was in court Wednesday in Bloomsburg where she faces charges of criminal homicide and arson.

The attorney general's office is prosecuting the case against Sanutti-Spencer and says she and her father killed Frank Spencer in July of 2012. Investigators say Spencer was shot at his home near Bloomsburg.

Sanutti-Spencer's attorney left the Columbia County courthouse after day two of her trial wrapped, saying they couldn't comment on the case due to a gag order.

Neighbors of the victim had plenty to say.

"Are you happy to see this going to trial?"

"Oh yes, definitely. This should have been going to trial a long time ago," said Gloria Holderman.

"Justice is served, but my God, it's a long time," Al Cavallini said.

The attorney general's office says Spencer was found shot execution style inside his home on Fairview Drive in Hemlock Township in July 2012. He was shot with both a rifle and handgun.

Prosecutors charged both Sanutti-Spencer and her father Anthony Franklin for not only Spencer's death, but for years of harassment against Spencer, including burning down a previous home of Spencer's before his death.

"And when their house burned down down there, everybody said, 'I said it. I'll bet she had something to do with that,' because she had before that came and broken their great big picture window," Holderman said.

Franklin fled the country after being charged two years ago. He was detained in Argentina by authorities where he remains still.

Al Cavallini says Spencer was a good man and good neighbor.

"I've known him from when he was four, five years old. Real nice kids, I call him a kid. He was a man when he was murdered," he said.

The trial for Sanutti-Spencer is expected to resume Thursday at the Columbia County Courthouse.