Killing Mom and Dad on Staten Island

All-American kid Eric Bellucci fell into madness and violence, leaving his brother and sister behind to wonder if he could have been stopped

In the weeks leading up to the murders, Bellucci had been threatening to kill his parents on a regular basis, and his threats were becoming more pointed and serious, Brian says. Marian never told Vanessa about the threats.

On the night of the murders, Vanessa and her grandmother were visiting. Marian was working at the computer, Arthur—“Artie,” as everyone called him—was watching television, Vanessa was working on her law school homework, and Eric was in his room upstairs. Vanessa wanted to leave early—she had a feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach, for some reason—but her mother convinced her to stay while they ordered sushi. She and her grandmother left after eating.

The next day—Wednesday, October 13—Terre Ciervo had plans to go with her sister to the Richmond Hill Country Club to attend a fashion-show benefit for children with developmental disabilities. (The Staten Island Advance reportedly incorrectly that Marian attended the fashion show with her son, Eric, based on the statement of Terre’s husband, Joe. Marian was killed before the fashion show occurred, and Joe says the Advance must have misunderstood him.)

After killing his parents, Bellucci was captured in Israel.
Photograph by Michael Oates
After killing his parents, Bellucci was captured in Israel.
Eric Bellucci with his father, Artie.
Courtesy Bellucci family
Eric Bellucci with his father, Artie.

That night, Ciervo says she was concerned because Marian hadn’t answered her text messages. She went to the house and rang the doorbell and no one answered. “I didn’t go around the back,” Ciervo says. “Something told me not to go around the backyard, and I’m glad I didn’t, because I didn’t want to see that.” She went to the fashion show, and called Vanessa, relating her concerns. It was Vanessa who then went to the house and found the bodies.

To this day, Vanessa insists that her parents never really believed that their son would actually hurt them. “As parents, they would have given their lives for any one of their children,” she says. “Unfortunately, they did not think it would be at the hand of their child. I don’t think she thought in a million years that he would have harmed either one of them.”

Brian, however, says that his parents weren’t entirely blind to the danger. “They were rolling the dice,” Brian says. “They knew they would either go down with him or get him help. They did not fear for their safety. And they thought they would go down with the ship if they were wrong.”

Neither Vanessa nor Brian have seen or spoken to their brother since the incident. He has sent them letters from jail, but they don’t respond. They say he seems psychotic in his letters—in one, he’ll insist that the murders were committed by organized crime; in another, he’ll blame their uncle Joe Ciervo, or members of the CIA. Bellucci avows, in his letters, to get to the bottom of his parents’ deaths, saying that he misses his mother terribly.

As long as he refuses medication, his siblings see no point in communicating with him. They don’t even attend his court hearings, preferring to read about them in the news.

“Is he going to become medicated and one day realize that he did it? Or will he be medicated his whole life and have no recollection?” Vanessa asks. “I don’t know which is worse.”

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