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Michael Pilato sentenced
Rochester, N.Y. --- Michael Pilato was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years to life in prison after he poured gasoline on the stairs and set fire to his family's Webster home in December 2011.
This was the maximum sentence he could receive. The Webster teen was convicted in June of intentionally killing his father and brothers in that fire. A jury convicted him on all nine charges including murder, attempted murder, and arson.
Pilatos mother, Elaine, and sister, Elizabeth, escaped the fire but were injured.
Pilatos father, 71 year-old Carmen, and his two brothers, 12 year-old Josh and 16 year-old Peter, were killed in the fire.
The Pilato family has been divided since that fire with Michaels mother Elaine choosing to forgive her son and support him in his defense. Elaine believes her son suffered an Extreme Emotional Disturbance the night he set the fire and she also believes he used bath salts or other synthetic drugs in the hours leading up to the fire.
"I know my husband well (and) he has forgiven Michael I am sure, 100% of that, Elaine Pilato stated while reading from a prepared statement. "I have no safety concerns about Michael he is a good loving son of 15 years who just snapped that night for which he doesn't need to spend his life in jail. Everyone deserves a second chance. I have a lot of guilt because parents are supposed to save their children...I did not and that I have to live with.
"My father would not have forgiven Michael for this, no, absolutely not, said Angel Pilato-Shuman the daughter of Carmen Pilato who spoke at sentencing on Wednesday. My father would be happy with this outcome and I hope he's watching over us and that he's proud of us today.
Doctor: A Budding Sociopath
In court during sentencing Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley brought the judges attention to a letter submitted by a Dr. Santo Bentivegna. In that letter Dr. Bentivegna stated that he saw Pilato as a budding sociopath and D.A. Doorley used that as one of many arguments for imposing the maximum sentence.
Pilatos lawyer, James Nobles, asked that that line be withdrawn from the sentencing packet that follows Pilato to prison. Nobles said Dr. Bentivegna expressed shocked over the crime in the very next sentence of that letter. Monroe County Court Judge Vincent Dinolfo denied that request.
After court 13WHAM News questioned Elaine Pilato about the doctors statement.
Reporter: Do you realize that, while you disagree with it, some people see your son as a sociopath?
Elaine Pilato: That is funny, that word never came up in all the years we saw Dr. Bentivegna, how come it never came up? Were you covering your own tracks? I believe he was.
Reporter: So you discount the family doctor that had been seeing him for many years?
Elaine Pilato: He didn't say that until after the fire. He came up to the hospital at my daughter's request to try to talk some sense into me because I must be looney toons.
Reporter: To those out there, the doctor or anybody else in the community, that sees your son as a sociopath what would you say?
Elaine Pilato: Its not true, its not. Hes got a lot of love in him.
Angel Pilato-Shuman agreed with Dr. Bentivegnas assessment of Michael and said shes felt this way since the fire that killed her father and two nephews.
Yes, there has been no remorse shown, there has not been an apology made at all and today he had an opportunity and he did not even use that to apologize and say how very sorry he was, said Pilato-Shuman. "He (Michael) was family to us and in return he murdered our family and I hope someday I can find forgiveness in my heart.
Pilato intends to appeal his conviction.