Attorney Will Pitch for Visco's Freedom in Visco Case

By Amy C. Rippel of The Sentinel Staff
Posted January 4, 2001

DELAND -- Leo Visco knew he had to remain strong for his wife. Eva Visco needed him emotionally and physically.

The constant pain of recent years kept Eva in bed, unable to maneuver without help from her husband of 24 years.

Knowing that she needed him was enough to keep Leo Visco going.

Each day he exercised his arms to strengthen the muscles he used to help her get up or get comfortable in bed. It was the least he could do to keep her at ease.

It's images such as this and others that Visco's attorney Mark NeJame, hopes will move Circuit Court Judge McFerrin Smith today to release Visco on bond from the Volusia County Branch Jail.

Visco, 80, told authorities he shot his 74-year-old wife in the head Dec. 26 after she begged him to end her years of suffering. Visco said that, according to the pact they made, he was supposed to then turn the .22-caliber revolver on himself.

Visco is being held on a first-degree murder charge. Suspects jailed on a charge that serious typically do not get bond because they are considered dangerous. NeJame is hoping to convince Smith that Visco is not a threat to others. He wants to portray Visco as a caring, loving husband who helped his ailing wife to her last day.

NeJame spent much of Wednesday preparing his case. He hopes Visco will be freed without bond, but Visco is willing to put up about $70,000 in equity in his home. He doesn't have any other assets or savings, NeJame said.

NeJame interviewed a dozen neighbors, Leo Visco's son, Leonard Visco, and Eva Visco's son, Mike Bono, to build a case. He also went through the couple's home, looking for signs of the nature of their relationship.

Later in the day, he visited Visco in jail. He saw a man still grieving over his wife's death.

" He's sad and he misses her, but he's peaceful," NeJame said. "It's been very hard on him. "

At the 1:30 p.m. hearing, NeJame will question several neighbors, Bono and Leonard Visco, all of whom want him released.

He will likely talk about the days Visco and his wife would sit in lawn chairs outside and watch the world go by.

He'll point out that Visco is a decorated World War II and Korean War veteran with an American flag in his front yard. And that his home and lawn are tidy and neat, just the way his wife liked it.

Leonard Visco said he is supportive of his father and confident in NeJame's abilities to get him out of jail."I feel pretty good about it. I just think he's got the best people on his side right now," he said. "I don't hold it against my dad for what they did."

Source: Orlando Sentinel