Tools

Local killer seeks clemency for 1987 Utica murder; survivor of attack speaks out

By By JOLEEN FERRIS

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - This holiday season, the family of a local murder victim is being forced to relive the pain of losing their daughter, sister and aunt.

Susan Giruzzi was 26 years old when she was shot and killed by Joseph DeRosa in October of 1987. The state parole clemency board recently contacted the Oneida County District Attorney's office about the case.

An inmate can ask the clemency board to commute their sentence once they have served at least half the minimum. Discretionary release on parole is not granted as a reward for good conduct while confined, but is considered if there is reasonable probability the person, if released, would live and remain at liberty without violating the law.

The Governor's Office receives more than 150 applications every year for clemency a year, and must review every application that is submitted. Of all the applications received by the Governor's Officer during David Paterson's time in office, only three requests have been granted.

The Oneida County District Attorney's Office has written the clemency board a letter, opposing any type of clemency or early release for DeRosa.

"Just because he feels bad about it now doesn't change the fact that he basically executed her," said District Attorney Scott McNamara.

Giruzzi died of a single gunshot wound to the head. Her family also opposes early release for DeRosa, and several members have written letters to the clemency board.

"We are vehemently opposed to this person being released one minute before his sentence is due. The family has gone through pain for the last 21 years because of Susan's death..." said Giruzzi's brother, John Giruzzi.

Joseph DeRosa has spent the last 20 years in prison for Giruzzi's murder.

DeRosa shot another woman - Janice Cerullo - that October day back in 1987. She survived, climbing through a first-floor window while bleeding from four gunshot wounds.

"I opened a window and basically straddled a window because I didn't know if he was inside the building or outside and I didn't know which way to fall in or out of the building I wasn't sure if he was still coming after me to kill me," said Cerullo, who says she's outraged not only for herself, but the Giruzzi family.

The governor's office has also contacted the Oneida County District Attorney's Office regarding possibly clemency for Joseph Robinson.

Robinson, of New York City, shot Nolan Woods to death near Dot's Place, a former local nightclub in October of 1991. He was convicted in 1993 and went to prison the same year.

The D.A.'s office is opposing any type of clemency or early release for Robinson, as well.

What's On