Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog
Our Blog Tips

Onorato's Wife's Car Burned In Driveway

8-9-2003 Vermont:

GROTON VERMONT: Groton resident Virginia Onorato -- wife of convicted murderer and rapist Robert Onorato -- was awakened between midnight and 1 a.m. Friday by Groton Fire Chief Jeremy Darling.

Darling told her that her car was ablaze in her driveway.

Some of her neighbors were driving home from a movie and spotted the fire, drove to the nearest neighbor's house up the road, and called the fire department.

They later returned and were compassionate and supportive of her, Virginia Onorato said.

The fire department responded promptly, she said, and put out the fire quickly so that the car is not a total loss.

The fire happened hours after an emotionally charged meeting of concerned Groton townspeople, who were gathered to learn about Robert Onorato's past and how they can deal with his release into their community.

Onorato was convicted of robbing and killing a 19-year-old Sunoco gas station attendant in 1978 when he was 20 years old, and of raping a 9-year-old boy in 1980.

Virginia was shaken and scared by the car fire.

"I stayed up all night because I was scared every time the cat jumped," Virginia said.

She moved to Groton from White River Junction on June 28 and has been enjoying her new home, which used to be a schoolhouse, books from the Groton town library, painting, and weekend visits to see her husband, Robert.

Robert and Virginia met in 1990 through a ministry to prisoners that Virginia was involved in. They met and corresponded for six years before they were married.

"Bob is caring, witty, and intelligent and it wasn't hard to fall in love with him," Virginia said in describing her husband.

They chose to live in Groton because Robert had had a tentative job in Berlin, and so they chose a 25-mile range and looked for houses within that area. When they saw the Groton house, they fell in love with it, and liked the small town atmosphere.

The recent car fire disheartens Virginia and makes her concerned for the day that Robert is released.

"I've waited 12 years for him to come home and I'm scared," Virginia said. She doesn't know what to expect on Aug. 15 when her husband will be released.

"I can handle this (referring to the fire)," she said, adding, "but I am scared for what's going to happen when Bob is released and comes home."

After Thursday night's events Robert didn't want Virginia to be alone and so her sister-in-law is going to be with her for a few days.

Virginia wants people to know that the crimes Robert did were terrible, but they were years ago, and they were done during a period when he was young and using drugs. She also said that although drugs are available in prison, Robert has always come up clean.

Virginia understands that some people are upset about Robert's past and understands that they want to know about it, but she hopes that people will give him a chance.

Husband and wife will be meeting with citizens who are concerned about his past and would like to them ask them questions about it.

News of the meeting and the fire spread quickly throughout Groton.

"I couldn't believe it," said Constable Milton Lamberton about the fire, adding, "They haven't given her a chance; it's like we are in the Ku Klux Klan days."

Others agreed with Lamberton.

"They need to give him a chance," said Sara Caccararo, 18, of Groton.

Mandy Darling, 19, of Groton concurred and said, "His wife hasn't done a thing."

Many seem to agree with those opinions, but not all.

"I hope they leave," said Susan Emerson of Groton, who doesn't believe that Onorato could have been rehabilitated and fears for the lives of those in the town.

Virginia Onorato has rented a car and is hoping the situation calms down so she and Robert can live a quite and normal life.

"I won't hold any grudges when they find out who did this," Virginia said, adding that she understands that people can do wrong things when emotionally worked up. ...more... by SETH POWERS, Staff Writer

No comments: