Retired trooper kills estranged wife, self - The Daily Freeman News

State police said Isol Cotto’s body was found in the bedroom of her home on Main Street/U.S. Route 209, Stone Ridge,early Wednesday morning. (Freeman photo by Paul Kirby)

Thursday, January 1, 2009 3:06 AM EST
By Paul Kirby
Freeman staff

STONE RIDGE — A retired state trooper fatally shot his estranged wife Wednesday at her home less than 90 minutes after getting out of jail and then killed himself in a gas station parking lot, according to state police.

William Cotto, 53, of Accord, who had been assigned as a trooper on the Thruway prior to retirement, killed his estranged wife, Isol Cotto, 53, with a single shotgun blast, police said.

Mrs. Cotto’s body was found by police at about 3:58 a.m. in the bedroom of her residence at 3657 Main St., a home on Main Street/U.S. Route 209 in the heart of the Stone Ridge commercial district.

Police said no one else at the residence was injured. A woman who works nearby but did not want to be identified said an adult daughter was also home at the time.

Police did not say how Cotto got inside the house.

At the time of the shooting, Cotto was in violation of an order of protection stemming from an arrest Tuesday morning on misdemeanor charges of unlawful imprisonment and menacing as well as harassment, a violation, according to state police.

State police along with members of the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office found Mrs. Cotto dead when they responded to the home after receiving a report of a man with a gun.

Police were not specific about how Cotto wound up at the gas station, exactly where his body was found, or what type of gun he used to kill himself. The station, which is also located on Main Street/Route 209, is under a half-mile from the residence.

Police reports indicate that Cotto was arrested at about 9:16 a.m. on Tuesday on the charges that led to the order of protection, but details about those charges were not immediately available.

At the time of that arrest, police had confiscated weapons known to be in Cotto’s possession, including a shotgun, knives, billy clubs, and ammunition, police said.

State police are attempting to determine where Cotto got the shotgun.

Cotto had been arraigned on the charges in the Marbletown Town Court before Justice Mark Glick and was ordered held at Ulster County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

According to Ulster County Jail personnel, Cotto bailed himself out at about 2:25 a.m. Wednesday using a credit card. About 90 minutes later, his estranged wife’s body was found.

Marbletown Town Supervisor Vincent Martello, who did not know the Cottos, described the murder-suicide, which occurred just down the highway from the Marbletown Town Hall, as an “terrible tragedy at any time of year but particularly during this time.

“It almost leaves you speechless,” Martello said. “You never, never want to hear about things kind of things anywhere around the world, especially in your backyard.

“Our prayers and hearts go out to the families.” Martello said.

The unidentified woman who worked near the Cotto home said there was a time when the couple ran a video store out of the buidling, but it was closed some time ago.

The home is located on Main Street/Route 209 almost directly across from the intersection with state Route 213 West, near a real estate office, an antique shop, and a funeral home, among other businesses.

The victim, the woman said, was originally from Iceland. The woman, who was at the scene Wednesday morning, said six dogs were kept in the home.

Town Clerk Katherine A. Cairo Davis said she did not know the couple well but occasionally rented videos at the store when it was opened.

Davis said that sometimes Mrs. Cotto would let small dogs romp around the store.

“She loved dogs,” Davis said.

Davis said that, at times, Mrs. Cotto would show off photographs taken on trips to Iceland.

“From what I gather they were having some difficulties,” Davis said. “It is just a very, very sad thing.”