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Man stole dead friend's wallet, pickup truck

A Las Vegas man was sentenced in Missoula federal court Friday for stealing his dead friend's wallet and pickup truck, and using the victim's ATM card to withdraw $7,500 from the man's bank account.

U.S. District Court Judge Donald W. Molloy gave Lawrence Pizzichiello a 12 1/2-year sentence, the maximum allowed by law for robbery affecting interstate commerce.

Pizzichiello, John Lynch and Brian Carreiro came to Montana in August 1995 for a hunting trip. Carreiro was shot and his body dismembered and burned. His remains were found in a barrel on land owned by Lynch's father near Trego.

Pizzichiello was found guilty in Lincoln County District Court in 1997 of accountability for murder, felony evidence tampering and accountability for robbery. Lynch was convicted of deliberate homicide in a separate trial the same year.

Those convictions were overturned by the Montana Supreme Court in part because the prosecution used taped telephone conversations, which are not allowed as evidence in Montana, said Bernie Hubley, assistant U.S. attorney.

But taped phone conversations can be used as evidence in federal court, and Lynch and Pizzichiello soon faced federal indictments, Hubley said.

Pizzichiello agreed to plead guilty to the robbery charge, and the other charges against him were dropped. Lynch will stand trial for murder in federal court April 24.

Pizzichiello has been in federal custody 254 days, which will be credited to his sentence.

Pizzichiello apologized Friday to Carreiro's family and asked Molloy for leniency.

"I talk to Brian often in my prayers," he said. "I think Brian would've forgiven me knowing the circumstances and I hope this court will, too."

But Molloy said a lesser sentence wouldn't have reflected the seriousness of the crime.

In addition to the prison term, Molloy ordered Pizzichiello to pay about $25,000 to Carreiro's family for the funeral and other expenses. If Lynch is convicted, the two will split the costs, Molloy said.

Phyllis Swallow, Carreiro's mother, said she was satisfied with the sentence. "One hundred and fifty-one months was the max," she said. "The rest was icing on the cake."

Defense attorney Palmer Hoovestal said Pizzichiello will appeal the sentence.

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