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Jun 20, 2019 10:01 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: DA Says Romance Motivated Murder In Montauk

Joseph Grippo was charged with second-degree murder and arraigned in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Friday morning. KYRIL BROMLEY
Jun 21, 2019 1:53 PM

UPDATE: Friday, noon

Joseph Grippo used a pickax to kill Robert Casado after luring him into Kirk Park, Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said shortly after Mr. Grippo’s arraignment in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Friday morning.

“The victim allegedly had a romantic relationship with the defendant’s significant other,” the DA said. “He stabbed and beat the victim in the face and the head. The victim succumbed to his injuries. The cause of death was blunt force trauma and stab wounds to the face and the head.”

Mr. Sini would not confirm if the murder weapon was recovered by the homicide squad.

Mr. Grippo pleaded not guilty before Justice Lisa Rana, who did not set bail at a brief arraignment beginning at 10:30 Friday morning. Mr. Sini arrived at approximately 10:45. He said the two men had known each other and had been friends at one point.

About a dozen of Mr. Casado's family and friends attended the arraignment. Mr. Casado's father, Benny Garces, seemed on the verge of collapsing after the arraignment. His sons, Jose Garces and Ariel Garces, while holding him up, escorted their father to his car in the parking lot.

Mr. Casado's family and friends wore pins with Mr. Casado's face that said, "Siempre Te Recordaremos," which translates to "We'll Always Remember You."

“We’re not sure how long they were friends for or the nature of the relationship,” Sheila Kelly, director of communications for the DA’s office, said after the arraignment of the relationship between Mr. Casado and Mr. Grippo.

Mr. Grippo was arrested on Thursday afternoon, two weeks after the murder, at 3:47 p.m. in a car near the intersection of Old Montauk Highway and Montauk Highway, Ms. Kelly said.

He has a misdemeanor and felony record, Mr. Sini said, adding that Mr. Grippo was convicted of armed robbery in Suffolk County in 1998, and he served 15 years in prison. Mr. Grippo also has several misdemeanors for attempted burglary, Mr. Sini said.

“It’s brand new. All I know is the accusation,” Dan Russo, Mr. Grippo’s attorney, said outside the courthouse after the arraignment. “I’m going to meet with him and go over the case. At this point it’s an accusation and we’re going to defend it.”

According to Mr. Russo, Mr. Grippo has been living in Montauk for the past two years.

After arraignment, Mr. Grippo was remanded to the county jail in Riverside.

"The important message to the public is that the person responsible for the murder is now in custody and will remain in custody pending trial," Mr. Sini said.

Original Story

Suffolk County Police on Thursday arrested a Montauk man who they say killed Robert Casado earlier this month at Kirk Park in Montauk.

Following an investigation with the East Hampton Town Police, Suffolk County Homicide Squad detectives arrested Joseph Grippo at 3:47 p.m. on Thursday. Mr. Grippo, 47, of Old Montauk Highway, was charged with second-degree murder.

He was being held overnight at the East Hampton Town Police Department and is scheduled to be arraigned at East Hampton Town Justice Court on Friday, June 21.

"On behalf of the East Hampton Town Police Department we would like to express our appreciation and thanks to the Suffolk Homicide squad, crime scene investigation unit and the medical examiner's office for their outstanding work on this tragic case," East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael D. Sarlo said on Thursday evening after the arrest was made public. "We hope the arrest begins to bring some closure for the family and friends of the victim, while also giving some relief to the Montauk community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim's family during this difficult time."

Mr. Casado, also of Montauk, was found unconscious in Kirk Park at about 7:30 a.m. on June 6 with head injuries and transported to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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