Day 1 wraps up in triple murder trial of Chuluota man

Prosecutors to call more witnesses Wednesday

By Jerry Askin - Reporter

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Prosecutors will call more witnesses Wednesday morning in the high-profile triple murder trial of Grant Amato. 

Amato has been jailed since shortly after the shooting deaths of his parents and older brother in their Chuluota home, allegedly in a dispute over money he wired to a Bulgarian cam girl he met online.

Amato was teary-eyed and emotional on the first day of testimony, as jurors saw body camera video of deputies entering his family's home and finding his parents and older brother dead.

[RELATED: Testimony underway in Grant Amato's triple murder trialTrial to begin for Chuluota man accused of killing his family]

Toward the end of the day Tuesday, prosecutors said Amato staged the scene as a murder-suicide, trying to make it appear as if his older brother, Cody, opened fire. 

"He [Grant] placed a handgun near Cody’s body and four shell casings in the vicinity of each body," Assistant State Attorney Stewart Stone said. 

Prosecutors told jurors Amato killed his father after shooting him twice. 

"He falls down, he crawls around the kitchen counter, to where he was shot a second time in the back of his head execution style," Stone said.

Prosecutors said hours after killing his family, Amato transferred funds from the bank accounts of his dead father and brother to send to an overseas cam girl he met online. 

"That’s how obsessed he was with that woman," Stone said. 

The defense spent the day questioning how the whole thing played out. They said evidence shows that Amato's brother was alive, and even used his cellphone the morning of Jan. 25, the same morning neighbors said they heard gunshots coming from or near the Amato home. 

Defense lawyers pointed out that Amato was initially released from police custody due to a lack of evidence. 

"The evidence will show there’s a complete lack of physical evidence linking Mr Amato to these deaths," said Amato's lawyer, Jared Shapiro.

The defense said Amato didn't own or have any access to guns at the time of the shooting. 

Amato has pleaded not guilty in the case. 

[MORE: Judge allows brain scan for Chuluota man accused of killing familyFamily tried to help Chuluota man charged with their murders, records show]

During the trial, Amato’s brain scan results might be discussed and jurors could see body camera video of his arrest, cellphone records and more. 

News 6 will be following the trial of Amato and will have updates on ClickOrlando.com. 

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