The decision, filed by Monroe County Court Justice Vincent Dinolfo on October 4, stems from a Huntley and Suppression Hearing in May where Pilato's attorney, Andre Vitale, successfully argued statements the then 15 year old made to police after the fire should be inadmissible at trial. State law dictates anyone under the age of 16 must have a parent or guardian present during a police interview.
Pilato's mother was in the hospital with injuries from the fire and gave police permission to search the home. She was not notified her son was in custody. Instead, Pilato's adult sister Jennifer was brought in by police to observe the interview. The judge ruled in favor of the defense. "Anytime a police officer is making a claim that somebody's made an admission that can be powerful information for a jury, it's always good when we can protect somebody from that kind of evidence being used in the prosecution's case," said Vitale on Wednesday.
Pilato is facing murder charges for the deaths of his father and two brothers back in December of 2011. Although his statements to police will be suppressed at trial, the judge ruled Pilato's conversation with family friend Nathaniel Blood will be admissible. Blood told police Pilato admitted starting the fire at the family home on Cardile Drive in Webster that killed 71 year old Carmen, 16 year old Peter and 12 year old Joshua Pilato as they slept.
Vitale said in the absence of any additional evidentiary hearings, Pilato's trial is set to begin January 14.
District Attorney Sandra Doorley released a statement saying, "The suppression of some of the statements in this case is disappointing. However, even without this statement, the People have a very strong case and I look forward to presenting all of the evidence at trial."