Elderly Shooter Awaits Fate Leo Visco, 80, who Faces Charges for what he Said was the Mercy Killing of his Wife, Could be Released on Bond

By Amy C. Rippel of The Sentinel Staff
Posted January 3, 2001

DELAND -- A judge will decide later this week whether a jailed 80- year-old man accused in a Deltona mercy killing should be freed.

If Leo Visco is released from the Volusia County Branch Jail this week, he may be able to attend his wife's memorial service.

Circuit Court Judge McFerrin Smith will make the decision after a 1:30p.m. hearing Thursday. Leo Visco is charged with first-degree murder.

Visco told authorities he shot his wife, Eva, in the head on Dec. 26 after she begged him to end her years of suffering. Visco said that according to a pact they had made, he was supposed to use his .22-caliber revolver on himself after he shot her.

Since then, the county medical examiner has said the 74-year-old woman wasn't terminally ill and may not have been in debilitating pain.

Visco's attorney, Mark NeJame, said Visco should be freed because he is not a threat to anyone.

" What danger does he pose to anybody? There's none," NeJame said. "He's been nothing but a model citizen for 80 years. "

Eva Visco's remains were cremated Saturday. Her family is planning a small, private memorial service at an aunt's house in Leesburg sometime later this week, said her son, Mike Bono of Deltona.

Bono said he plans to visit Leo Visco in jail this weekend. If Leo Visco is released before the service, he is welcome to attend, Bono said.

" To me, he is going through more hell now than what she went through," Bono said. "He's just way too old to be in there."

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

NeJame said Visco is a model citizen. A World War II veteran, he was honorably discharged from the Army Corp of Engineers in 1945. He received several medals and went on to serve in the Air Force for three years. He then served in the Army during the Korean War, receiving several medals.

NeJame also said Visco has never been arrested or convicted of a crime and doesn't own a passport.

The couple married in 1976. Family and friends said Eva Visco suffered a litany of health problems in her later years, including being nearly bedridden and going blind and deaf.

Leo Visco, who tended to his wife around the clock, said he was following her wishes when he shot her.

Source: Orlando Sentinel