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Former Police Lieutenant Sentenced to 79 Years In Prison for Murdering Ex-Wife, Attacking Her Boyfriend While Kids Were in Home

John Formisano, Christie Formisano

John Formisano, Christie Solaro-Formisano

A former police lieutenant received a virtual life sentence for gunning down his ex-wife and trying to kill her new boyfriend.

John Formisano, 52, must spend 79 years in prison for charges including first-degree murder and first-degree attempted murder, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office announced on Monday.

He was convicted back on Oct. 3 for attacking former spouse Christie SolaroFormisano, 37, and Timothy Simonson, 40, at a home in Jefferson Township. Two kids were inside at the time, prosecutors said.

Police got dispatched to the street of Mirror Place regarding calls of shots fired. Simonson survived multiple gunshot wounds. Solaro-Formisano ran wounded from the home and attempted to escape. She was murdered in front of a neighbor’s home two houses down.

Locals at the time thought the gunshots were fireworks.

“We heard three shots,” Julie Rivera told “I’ve never heard gunshots before so in my mind I’m thinking they were fireworks. And then we hear police. Our phones started blowing up, ‘Lock your doors, there was a shooting.’ And then we see everywhere, all over, that there was a shooting. The stories were coming out.”

Formisano, an off-duty acting lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, fled the area, but authorities caught him in Livingston, New Jersey, some 30 miles southeast.

“At approximately 2:00AM on July 15, 2019 the defendant was located in Livingston, New Jersey, and was taken into custody by law enforcement,” prosecutors said. “The firearm used by the defendant was recovered in the trunk of the car the defendant was driving.”

That murder weapon was his police-issued pistol.

Simonson, who testified at trial, said he had been dating Solaro-Formisano for about one month prior to the shooting.

Solaro-Formisano was remembered in her obituary as a “beloved mother” of two, a “loving daughter,” “dearest sister,” an aunt, and a friend to many.

Defendant Formisano was also convicted of two counts of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, second-degree official misconduct, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and third-degree hindering apprehension or prosecution.

From prosecutors:

The first 65 years of the sentence are subject to the No Early Release Act, which make the defendant ineligible for parole until he has served 85% of 65 years (approximately 55 years, 3 months). Specifically, Judge Gaus imposed the following consecutive sentences: 50 years on the count of Murder; 15 years on the count of Attempted Murder; seven years on a count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child; and seven years on a count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The sentences imposed on the remaining charges were ordered to run concurrently to the aforementioned sentences. Judge Gaus also ordered the defendant to pay restitution to the New Jersey Victim of Crimes Compensation Office and for reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by the victims. Judge Gaus ordered the defendant to have no contact with the adult male victim (T.S.). He directed the defendant to have no contact with the two minor children or their current guardian for a term of 180 days.

Matt Naham contributed to this report.

[Image via CBS News/YouTube, screengrab]

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