Man who Shot Wife Goes Home to Rest Leo Visco Charged with First-degree Murder, was Released from Jail on Bond

By Amy C. Rippel of The Sentinel Staff
Posted January 6, 2001

DAYTONA BEACH -- Leo Visco walked out of jail with his son and his attorneys by his side Friday night so the 80-year-old man can return to the home he and his wife once shared.

Shortly before 7 p.m., Visco was released from the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he has been held since the Dec. 26 shooting of his wife, Eva.

He choked back tears as he hugged his son and thanked him and his attorneys for their support. His attorneys would only allow him to say a few brief words before he was shuffled off to his Deltona home. He wasn't allowed to discuss the shooting.

"I'm fine," he said in quiet voice. "I'd just like to go home and rest and get things off my mind. "

Visco told investigators that he shot his wife in the head with a .22-caliber pistol to end her pain.

Visco's son Leonard said he was grateful that his father was going home.

He said he plans to stay with his father for a few days to help him make the transition.

" I told him I loved him and just to relax," the younger Visco said of their encounter behind closed jail doors moments after his father was released. "It's just wonderful to have him home."

A judge granted Visco, charged with first-degree murder, bond at a hearing Thursday.

Typically, first-degree murder suspects do not get bond because they are considered dangerous. The judge determined that Visco doesn't pose a threat to anyone.

Under the judge's order, Visco is not allowed to leave his home unless he gets approval from the court.

At the hearing Thursday, Circuit Court Judge C. McFerrin Smith allowed Visco to use the equity in his home to post bond directly with the county rather than use the more traditional route of hiring a bail-bond company.

That order caused a great deal of confusion on Friday, leaving Visco in jail for most of the day.

The county attorney was concerned that accepting the deed as collateral would make the county financially responsible for the mortgage. Visco was released after Smith issued a revised order that clarified the county's role.

" The county attorney's office resisted it,"Visco's attorney Mark NeJame said of the original order.

" They said they could not accept paperwork on the property. "

NeJame said he will spend the coming days speaking with Assistant StateAttorney Raul Zambrano to encourage him not to follow through with the first-degree murder charge.

NeJame said Visco shouldn't be punished for the shooting.

" The public opinion coming out is that this man should not be prosecuted," he said.

Visco spent much of his time at the jail alone in a 9-foot-by-7- foot cell in the ward where ailing inmates are kept. The cell doors opened at 5 a.m., allowing him to mingle with other inmates until the cell doors shut at 11 p.m. He was able to make collect telephone calls, write notes at a small desk in his cell and sleep on the small bunk.

Eva Visco's remains were cremated earlier this week. Family members are planning a small memorial service for her that might be held today at a family member's Leesburg home.

Leo Visco will not be able to attend because he is under house arrest.

Source: Orlando Sentinel