Mom sentenced to prison for providing guns to son convicted of North Fayette slaying

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Gloria Mazzocco knew that her 25-year-old son wasn’t allowed to possess firearms stemming from a previous mental health commitment.

But in his bedroom in her North Fayette home — soon after David Mazzocco shot three people at the Fort Pitt Inn, killing one — investigators found thousands of rounds of ammunition in plain view, and an unlocked gun safe containing a shotgun.

More than that, they learned that Gloria Mazzocco, now 61, gave him two of the handguns he took with him that night of March 11, 2013.

One of them, a .45-caliber, was the gun used to kill James “Jamie” Adams.

Gloria Mazzocco was found guilty in a nonjury trial before Common Pleas Judge Anthony M. Mariani of Allegheny County in December of illegally transferring ownership of the guns.

On Thursday, she was sentenced to two to six years in prison.

“These two offenses she did commit have had a dramatic impact on the community in which she lives,” the judge said. “There has to be consequence for that.”

Judge Mariani gave the woman two weeks to report so she can get her personal affairs in order. She is the legal guardian for her twin granddaughters.

Eleanor Adams, the victim’s mother, said after the sentencing she was satisfied.

“There’s no happiness in this,” she said. “I can identify. I was a mother. I’m older. I can’t believe that it was under her nose and she allowed it.”

Police said that David Mazzocco asked his mother for the guns earlier that day so he could show them to a neighbor interested in buying them.

But that night, David Mazzocco got into an argument with his girlfriend. He was in the bar, walked out to his truck and returned with three weapons.

In addition to Adams’ slaying, Joseph Quirk was severely injured and blinded, and Gerald Maroni was shot in the shoulder trying to subdue David Mazzocco in the North Fayette tavern.

Ms. Adams asked the judge to send a message to other parents with his sentence.

“We have been trying to make sense of this heartbreaking tragedy ever since it occurred,” she said in a written statement. “We know that Mrs. Mazzocco did not pull the trigger that night, but we can’t help but ask ‘What if?’

“ ‘What if’ Mrs. Mazzocco had obeyed the law and ensured that her son wouldn’t have access to firearms in her home? ‘What if’ she kept the guns securely locked away, or better yet, removed from her home? ‘What if’ Mrs. Mazzocco had called the police earlier that evening when she realized that her son was driving around with guns and ammunition in his possession?”

Gloria Mazzocco did not speak during the hearing.

Her attorney, Mark Sindler, asked Judge Mariani for probation so she could continue to care for her grandchildren.

He told the court there would likely not have been criminal charges against her had she not spoken to the police that night to try to help them.

“She was truly trying to help the police in a time of crisis in that community,” he said. “Everything revolves around Ms. Mazzocco’s statements.”

Although Judge Mariani agreed that Gloria Mazzocco cannot be held responsible for what her son did, “she handed him the very weapon he used in the murder.”

“If we don’t have accountability for that, what’s the point of having the statute in the first place?” he asked.

Gloria Mazzocco will be eligible for release after 18 months under the state’s Recidivism Risk Reduction Initiative, which reduces a sentence by 25 percent if the crime is nonviolent and the person has no previous criminal record.

Mr. Sindler said she will not likely appeal.

David Mazzocco was found guilty of first-degree murder in a jury trial in November and was sentenced last month to a mandatory prison term of life without parole.


Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2620 or on Twitter @PaulaReedWard.


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