Right now I am reading Ann Rule's book "Last dance, Last chance" which is one of her many collections of crime stories. The main story in this book is about a man called Anthony Pignataro who was a cosmetic surgeon living a flamboyant lifestyle in New York State with his wife Debbie and his two children. The most important person in Anthony Pignataro's life was himself and he had little time for his wife or his children. He had numerous affairs, did drugs and worst of all performed operations that he did not have any formal training in. A young mother lost her life on Pignataro's operating table and he did a short time in prison and later lost his medical license.

His wife Debbie stayed by his side through it all.

She later found herself to be the victim as Anthony tried to poison her with arsenic over a long period of time. She was hospitalized for many months, slowly regaining her mobility and living through excruciating pain. Police felt that his motive for poisoning his wife might have been to clear himself of the charges in the death of the young mother who died during a breast augmentation in Pignataro's surgery. He was trying to prove that any doctor can lose a patient.

Debbie Pignataro recovered and were reunited with her children.

This is the kind of story I really enjoy reading. It's about a true sociopath with absolutely no regard for other people's feelings. Someone who considers himself the center of the universe. I have tried to do a little research online about this case but it seems there is very little to be found. I did find one newspaper article dating back to August 31, 1999, and it explains something about the wife and children of the former Dr. Pignataro having been poisoned but at the time nobody knew who did it.

The police were never able to establish exactly how Pignataro poisoned his wife but I did find another article with the headline "Hairpiece inventor charged with attempted murder". He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

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Tags: New, York, arsenic, crime, poison

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Comment by Gitte on March 5, 2009 at 4:51pm
Thanks for your comment, Dianne. I have "Small Sacrifices" both on book and VHS tape and the story is so scary, I think. Odd that a mother would want to destroy her own children.
Comment by Dianne on March 5, 2009 at 1:09pm
I love Ann Rule and have read everything she's written. And, she can hold her own with the worst of them. I saw her on Oprah years ago when Diana Downs was on via satellite from prison after trying to murder her three children (Small Sacrifices have you read it)? I'll have to pick this one up. Thanks for the tip.

Dianne

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