PALM HARBOR - Edward Graziano was arrested on Feb. 26 for solicitation to commit the murder of his estranged wife, Debra Graziano.
The Grazianos are the parents of John Graziano, who was seriously injured in a car crash with Nick Bollea.
According to a report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office, Graziano, 53, was arrested at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday at his home in Palm Harbor and charged with solicitation for murder.
The arrest was the result of a two-and-a-half month investigation by the sheriff’s office Criminal Investigative Division in which Graziano is alleged to have had multiple meetings and negotiations with a tipster and an undercover detective posing as a go-between.
In mid-December 2008, the sheriff’s office got a tip that Graziano was soliciting the murder of his wife, and detectives subsequently met with the victim and her attorney to inform them of the threat, the sheriff’s report said.
Throughout the investigation, a number of meetings were held between Graziano, the tipster and an undercover detective posing as the go-between. The meetings took place at various locations in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties.
Detectives reported that during the meetings, Graziano, the tipster and undercover agent discussed the details of how the murder was to be conducted and the amount to be paid.
Graziano said he wanted to have his wife’s murder to appear like an automobile accident, detectives said. He allegedly provided his wife’s schedule so the hit man could have possible options on days to conduct the hit and to ensure an alibi for himself.
Investigators allege Graziano’s actions are a result of a culmination of divorce-related financial issues.
Detectives reported that Graziano recently paid $1,100 in cash, $1,000 in a personal check and a $13.06 gift card to Westshore Pizza to have his wife murdered.
Graziano is being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.