SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Even when he was confronting with photos of his dead mother, father and brother, a triple murder suspect continued to deny shooting his family members at their Chuluota home.
Video evidence released Monday shows investigators interviewed Grant Amato for four hours and never once in that time did he admit to his role in the crime or express remorse. Instead, Amato, 29, remained calm and never once raised his voice even while adamantly denying the accusations.
Amato is accused of killing his parents Chad Amato, 59, and Margaret Amato, 61, and his brother, Cody Amato, 31, on Jan. 25. Officials say before the slayings, Amato fought with his father because he'd stolen $200,000 from his family and wired it to a Bulgarian cam girl with whom he'd had an online relationship.
In the recorded interview, which took place a day after the deaths, Amato tells investigators that his father was upset that he'd ruined his retirement plans with the theft but that his mother and brother were always the mediators.
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When Amato's father found out that he was still involved with the cam girl -- despite the theft, despite his stint in a rehabilitation center meant to treat internet and sex addiction, and despite being told that he would be kicked out of the house if he spoke to her again -- he told Amato he needed to pack his things and move out, according to the video.
"It was everything that he had been telling me for the past months and months and months about how I'd ruined his retirement," Amato said.
He claimed that at some point during the argument, his father grabbed him by his collar and also threatened to kill him if he ever returned to the home.
"I had always been passive so I didn't, I didn't fight back or anything like that, I just tried to get my grounding and then we were just standing and, you know, it just continued on," Amato said.
Records show Amato said he and his father argued on and off for about three hours while he gathered his belongings to move out of the home.
At some point, Amato claimed his mother stepped in and then later his brother also tried to mediate.
"My dad and my mom were arguing and I was still just packing up all my stuff and then when Cody got home, he started to transgress with my dad and I was just trying to stay out of it," Amato said.
Investigators told Amato that evidence disproved Amato's assertions that he left the house before the shooting and that he met with his brother down the street before he returned home.
About three hours into the interview, a detective presents Amato with photos from the murder scene showing his dead mother, father and brother. The video shows as Amato hangs his head, covers his face with his hands and appears to choke back tears.
"Did your father go after you and you tried to protect yourself?" one detective asks.
"No, I didn't do any of this," Amato answers.
From that point forward, detectives continue to push Amato for the truth and confront him with the evidence. They say in the video that no one else entered the home after Amato left, none of the victims had gunshot residue on their hands and that Cody Amato -- who had a close relationship with his brother -- was shot in the head the moment he entered the home.
"This, this and this happened while you were still present in the house and for whatever reason, you don't want to tell us," a detective says, pointing to the pictures laid out on the table showing the dead bodies.
The detectives say they can understand if Amato was defending himself against his father since they had a tumultuous relationship but couldn't understand why he'd shoot his mother and brother, who always came to his defense even amid legal and financial troubles.
"I don't have the answer for anything else," Amato said.
For the majority of the interview, Amato shows little emotion. The detective points out that he doesn't seem remorseful or as upset as someone should be after losing three family members.
"You don't know what? You don't know if you feel bad for doing this to your family?" a detective asks.
"I've been getting blamed for the last half a year for everything and I've been trying to move forward into a positive direction and then every day I'm reminded of all the trouble I've caused and then I keep being told the same thing over and over again but there's nothing I can do to change it," Amato replies.
The detectives continue to offer Amato opportunities to confess but the four-hour video ends with him still claiming that he doesn't know who would hurt his family.
Amato was taken into custody on Jan. 28.
The video was among dozens of pieces of evidence released to the media on Monday. Also included were autopsy reports that show all three victims were shot in the head, a letter in which he explains his online relationship, photos from the crime scene and recorded interviews with family members.
Amato is facing three counts of first-degree murder. If convicted, he will face the death penalty.
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