Bucks Man Charged With Slaying Daughter And Dismembering Body

Posted: April 18, 1990

A Bucks County man was charged yesterday with killing his mentally ill daughter on Easter, then trying to dispose of the body by dismembering it and boiling the body parts on a stove.

John Vincent DiGregorio, 60, was arrested at 1 a.m. yesterday after his son-in-law called police and told them DiGregorio had killed his daughter, Carol DiGregorio, 38. When police arrived at his Bensalem apartment, DiGregorio admitted to the slaying and said his daughter was in the kitchen, according to a police affidavit.

Police found three pots filled with boiling body parts and fluid and two plastic bags in the refrigerator containing, among other things, the head. An officer on the scene estimated the corpse had been hacked into at least 50 pieces.

At 1 p.m., as news of the killing spread and neighbors gathered in front of the three-story brick building in the Colonial Park Apartments in the 900 block of Bristol Pike, police brought out two 55-gallon drums and four five- gallon buckets that they said contained the remains of the corpse.

DiGregorio told police that he killed his daughter at 8:30 a.m. Sunday after she attacked him with a knife. He said he struck her about five times with a tire rod and a tool that he was using to fix a garbage disposal.

DiGregorio, a printer, said his daughter fell onto a couch in the living room and he later dragged her into the bathroom, cut off her clothing and cut up her body with a large knife and a hacksaw, the affidavit stated. He said he then proceeded to cook the body parts on the stove.

On Monday, he went to his job at Qualex Inc. in Bensalem.

Sometime Monday night, police said, DiGregorio called a son-in-law, Daniel DeChurch, in Atco, N.J., and told him about the slaying. Police sources said that the men met later that night, probably in Waterford, N.J., and that DeChurch then called Bensalem police.

When police went to DiGregorio's apartment to arrest him, DiGregorio offered no resistance and said, "You're going to arrest me. I killed my daughter," according to the affidavit.

The two-bedroom apartment was in disarray, and human waste was found in the daughter's bedroom.

DiGregorio was arraigned and was being held without bail in Bucks County Prison on charges of first-degree murder, criminal homicide and abuse of a corpse. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

An official who did not want to be identified said it appeared that DiGregorio "just snapped" after enduring years of his daughter's bizarre behavior. She had a long history of mental illness and had been treated at various area hospitals, he said.

After killing her, "the enormity of what happened dawns on him and the circuits just switched off," the official said. "He believes he has to dispose of the body instead of calling the police."

Bucks County District Attorney Alan M. Rubenstein confirmed that Carol DiGregorio had been hospitalized for mental problems but said he did not know where or when.

Carol DiGregorio, who was divorced and had a son, also had a background of violence. In July 1988, she attacked her father, according to Bensalem police, who would release no further information. After that incident, she fled the apartment and hid in a nearby greenhouse until midnight, neighbors said.

Friends said that she seemed normal when taking medication, but that when she stopped, she became violent or withdrawn. Ana Rodriguez, who lived below the DiGregorios, said she could sometimes hear Carol DiGregorio screaming and jumping up and down on the floor.

During good periods, her friend said, she would go out, talk to friends and work. She spoke wistfully of her son, who lived with his father in New Jersey, according to Rodriguez.

"She always wanted to see him. She was obsessed with that little boy," she said.

Despite his daughter's troubles, neighbors said, John DiGregorio was a devoted father who went to great pains to help her live a normal life. He urged her to seek treatment and take her medication. Last summer he bought her a car in the hope she would go out more.

"He did everything for her," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and another neighbor, Karen Stackhouse, said they last saw John DiGregorio on Friday and asked him how his daughter was doing.

"He said, 'She's not too good. She's going to have to go back in (the hospital),' " Stackhouse recalled. "Usually he would stand and talk. But he

went right up (to his apartment). You could tell something was wrong."

It had been that way with her since the summer, the women said. They hardly ever saw Carol DiGregorio, and when they did, she ignored them.

On Monday, John DiGregorio put air in the tires of his daughter's rarely used white Thunderbird and moved it to another spot in the parking lot, said Linda Smith, who was sitting outside with friends. He then went out and returned about 10 minutes later, gave neighbors a friendly greeting and went to his apartment.

Neighbors said nothing seemed unusual until the police arrived in the middle of the night. Bill Oakley said he thought Carol DiGregorio had killed herself until he saw her father led out in handcuffs.

"It's really a shame. They were both such nice people," he said.

Rodriguez said she did not blame John DiGregorio for the slaying.

"I think he was insane when he did that," she said. "He couldn't take it anymore."

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