A 24-year-old Massapequa man, Pietro Amato, who is awaiting sentencing on a domestic violence-related charge in Nassau County was back in custody as of August 6, facing yet another felony charge, this one out of the Town of East Hampton. According to the police, in a text message sent July 10, Amato threatened to kill a woman with whom he has a child. This threat was made, police said, shortly after he was released from jail in Nassau County.
Amato had just taken a plea to violating an order of protection for the woman, leading to his release from jail. The woman was in East Hampton when the threat was made, the police said.
It is at least the fourth time Amato has been charged since mid-May of either violating court orders of protection relating to the woman, or harassment. These incidents include at least three occasions where physical violence, or the threat of it, was involved, according to the charges.
Amato was picked up by Nassau County police at his Massapequa home July 31 after an arrest warrant was issued out of East Hampton, based on the threats the woman had reportedly received. Amato was brought to East Hampton Town Justice Court Thursday, August 1 to be arraigned on a felony charge of violating an order of protection.
According to the police, after he was released from jail July 10, Amato began sending threatening text messages and emails to the woman. She had come to East Hampton to try to get as far away from Amato’s Nassau County home as possible, police said.
In one of the messages, Amato allegedly asked if the woman knew that it would only cost $500 to have her killed. In another message, he threatened that he would burn down a store in Wantagh that a male friend of the woman owns.
Before his July 10 release, Amato had been allowed to plea bargain down from a prior felony charge of violating an order of protection in an incident that involved allegations of violence. That incident had occurred on June 8, according to court records, resulting in Amato being arrested on June 21. An additional felony charge of criminal mischief, involving damage he was said to have done to the victim’s property, was dropped as well.
Amato is scheduled to return to the Nassau County courtroom September 12 to be sentenced on the charge he pleaded guilty to.
The accused also has two open dockets in the Suffolk County courtroom of Justice Patricia Grant-Flynn in Central Islip. Grant-Flynn’s courtroom handles cases involving domestic violence. One of those open charges is similar to the one he is now facing out of East Hampton — criminal contempt involving violence or the threat of violence towards the protected party.
During his August 1 arraignment in East Hampton, prosecutor Rudy Migliore argued for a high bail amount, saying that Amato was violent, a flight risk, and a danger to the community. Amato’s attorney, Matthew D’Amato of the Legal Aid Society, told the court that Amato, after allegedly sending the messages, had entered into a treatment program at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Justice Lisa Rana, who has sat in judgement of countless cases involving domestic violence in her 16 years on the bench and has been a protective judicial force for the abused, agreed with Migliore, and set bail at $75,000.
Matthew D’Amato said his client would not waive his right to be released from custody if not indicted on the felony charge by a grand jury within 120 hours of his arrest, as is required by law. That started the clock ticking for District Attorney Tim Sini’s office. Since Amato was not making bail, the DA had until Tuesday, August 6, at noon to obtain an indictment or cut Amato loose from county jail in Riverside, where he remained as of the morning of August 6, at press time.