Jurors took less than a day to find Robert Savinetti not guilty in the August 2017 death of Lisa Micelli, the 44-year-old Melville mother of two who was dragged under an SUV after an altercation
with her boyfriend outside a Seaford restaurant.
Prosecutor Tara DePalo had charged that Savinetti, 58, of Melville, intentionally ran over Micelli after a heated argument about her smoking habits outside the Cardoon Mediterranean restaurant on Adler Court at approximately 11 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2017.
According to reports at the time, Savinetti got into his 2010 Toyota Rav4 and prepared to leave the restaurant. Micelli “ran alongside the vehicle for some time, but then lost her footing and ended up underneath the rear passenger tire,” prosecutor Tara DePalo said at Savinetti’s Aug. 2, 2017 arraignment. According to defense attorney Marc Gann, Micelli was wearing flip-flops at the time of her death.
Gann told jurors that Micelli’s death was “a tragic accident.” He said Savinetti was unaware of Micelli’s injuries until he was contacted by restaurant owner Stephen Rosenbluth, who advised him that she had been hurt. He subsequently returned to the scene, where he was arrested.
Micelli’s death left Savinetti devastated, Gann said, but he felt relieved at the jury’s unanimous decision, which found him guilty only of criminal negligence, a misdemeanor.
Savinetti was originally charged with manslaughter, two counts of driving while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a fatal collision. Some of the original charges were dismissed, including all the alcohol-related offenses, after State Supreme Court Justice Angelo Delligatti ruled that statements and text messages gathered at the time of Savinetti’s initial detention were inadmissible, because officers did not have probable cause to make the arrest.
Medical examiners reported that Micelli had a blood alcohol level of 0.29 percent. She was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center at 11:34 p.m. Savinetti, who admitted at the time to the consumption of “four glasses of wine,” failed a field sobriety test with a blood alcohol level of 0.14, records showed.
Savinetti was a guitarist with the cover band Copy Cat; Micelli managed the band’s bookings. Initially, the case attracted widespread coverage including reports in the British newspaper, The Daily Mail.
According to reports at the time, Savinetti intended to “teach [Micelli] a lesson about smoking.”