Altoona native killed; husband arrested

Woman was 2004 graduate of AAHS

An Erie County man faces multiple criminal charges for the killing of his wife, an Altoona native, Thursday at their Millcreek residence.

John Paul Grazioli, of 5843 Forest Crossing, Millcreek, is accused of killing the former Amanda Schmitt, 31, with a single gunshot to the back of her head, according to a police criminal complaint.

Schmitt graduated from Altoona Area High School in 2004.

Her passing has left family and friends “devastated,” according to Kim (Franco) Meloy. The two have been best friends for 20-plus years.

“It’s hard to put into words,” Meloy said Friday. “We’re all sad to have lost such a dear friend and bright light in our lives. She was the most beautiful person, inside and out, in any room, and we’ll really miss her, every day.”

At Altoona, Schmitt was a member of the school’s soccer team.

Her father, Tom Schmitt, is an active member of the local soccer community and occasionally writes a soccer column for the Mirror.

Her mother, Denise (Schmitt) Katz, resides in Lake Ariel, near Scranton. There are three other siblings — Brandon, Vanessa and Allison — all Altoona Area High School graduates.

According to their online wedding website, Grazioli and Schmitt were married Sept. 30, 2017.

“She was so happy,” Meloy said. “She was over the moon at her wedding. I just think of her as a happy, beautiful person.”

Grazioli reportedly shot his wife with a Glock 43 handgun that he purchased a month ago.

According to the complaint, dispatchers determined Grazioli did not possess a conceal carry permit.

Police are charging Grazioli, 44, with criminal homicide, first-degree murder, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, possession of instruments of crime and firearms not to be carried without a license.

The Erie Times-News reported police started investigating the case after Grazioli’s ex-wife called a dispatcher and said her ex-husband called to tell her he killed his current wife, Amanda, while she was home in bed.

Arrest records show state police found a handwritten note by Grazioli saying he had killed his wife and himself.

But instead of killing himself, Grazioli drove from his house to St. Peter Cathedral in downtown Erie to confess the crime to the Rev. Michael Polinek, who convinced him to call the police, according to the Erie Times-News.

Erie police responded to the 911 call at the cathedral and locked it down, along with the nearby Cathedral Preparatory School, until Grazioli’s arrest.

Grazioli is currently being held at Erie County Prison. He was arraigned Friday morning before McKean District Judge Denise Stuck-Lewis.

Funeral arrangements for Amanda (Schmitt) Grazioli are pending.

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