Bail Bond Agent Charged With Manslaughter Sentenced to 25 Years

Bond was increased to $750,000.

A bail bond agent who insists she shot and killed her boyfriend in self-defense as he was driving in 2014 has been sentenced to 25 years and must serve a minimum of five.

A jury convicted Angela Grasso-Cunha, 29, of Plainville, of manslaughter in February, but acquitted her of a murder charge.

The investigation began on Wednesday. April 9, 2014 when police found Jose Mendez, 23, of Hartford, after a crash near Prospect Avenue and Kane Street. He had been shot in the head, according to police, and was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police said they had received several 911 calls, including one from a woman who was upset and crying.

"My name is Angela and I just shot someone on Prospect Avenue," she said, according to court documents. She was heard screaming and crying before hanging up.

Grasso-Cunha's defense team said in court that she was acting in self-defense.

According to court paperwork. Grasso-Cunha told police that Mendez kidnapped her and she shot him in self-defense.

She waived her Miranda rights after speaking with her attorney for several minutes, according to court documents, and spoke with West Hartford Police officers for more than five hours after the shooting.

Grasso-Cunha told police she ran into Mendez at a bar in Hartford three weeks earlier, after not having seen him since they were teenagers, and they started dating, according to police.

Police are investigating a mans death after a victim was found earlier Wednesday night on Prospect Avenue in West Hartford. Sources tell NBC Connecticut he was shot in the head.

On April 8, 2014, Mendez took Grasso-Cunha to see his sister and then accused her of flirting with his sibling. In the car, they argued and Mendez threw her phone out the window, she told police.

On April 9, 2014, Mendez accused Grasso-Cunha of cheating and told her she had to give him $600 or he would kill her and her family, according to court documents.

Grasso-Cunha told police she tried to get the money by cashing a check, but the bank was closed.

At that point, Mendez also accused her of cheating and he grabbed the back of her head, slammed it into the center console and spit on her, she told police.

He also brought her to a clinic in Bloomfield to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and said he’d kill her children if she ran, Grasso-Cunha told police.

By the time they got there, the clinic was closed for the day, so they drove back to Hartford and Mendez threatened to kill Grasso-Cunha's family and make her watch, she told police.

While driving on Park Street, Mendez turned to look toward Wendy's and Grasso-Cunha took the opportunity to reach for her purse, grab her gun and fire once at Mendez’s head, she told police.

Mendez slumped over, bleeding, and the car continued south on Prospect Avenue until Grasso-Cunha grabbed the wheel and steered the car off the road and into a fence, police said.

She told authorities that Mendez posed no immediate threat or danger, but she feared for her life as well as her family members’ lives and saw this as her only opportunity to stop him from following through on his threats, according to court documents.

One officer reported hearing Grasso-Cunha say, “He beat me, what did you expect?” as she hugged her knees, rocked back and forth and crying.

Mendez's family said they did not know what led up to the shooting.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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