Montefusco Trial Wraps Up

Former major league pitcher John Montefusco was acquitted Monday of sexually assaulting his ex-wife.

After about three hours of deliberations, a jury found him innocent of sexual assault and making terroristic threats. He was cleared of all but three other charges contained in his 18-count indictment.

He was found guilty of criminal trespassing and simple assault. Superior Court Judge James Kennedy set sentencing for Feb. 4.

The 50-year-old Montefusco had been accused of forcing himself on ex-wife Doris D. Montefusco during an October 1997 incident at her Marlboro home. The two were married for 19 years.

"It ultimately came down to a credibility call," said Montefusco's lawyer, Robert W. Eisler.

Eisler told jurors Friday that Montefusco was the real victim in the case, suggesting that Mrs. Montefusco was pressing charges because she stood to collect part of his major league baseball pension if he was imprisoned.

"She, in fact, is the predator and he is, in fact, the victim," said Eisler.

Mrs. Montefusco testified that he forced himself on her after choking her. "This must be what it is like to die," she thought at the time, she told jurors last week.

Montefusco, who said the sex was consensual, had been held on $1 million bail since his arrest two years ago. Kennedy reduced the bail to $10,500 after the verdicts were returned.

Montefusco, a Middletown native, played for four teams during a 14-year career. He was the National League rookie of the year in 1975.

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