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Upstate N.Y. Woman Who Allegedly Murdered Her Mother During ‘Verbal Argument’ Arrested After Police Standoff


Paleigh Iannarilli appears in a mugshot

An upstate New York woman was arrested after a standoff with law enforcement on Monday in connection with the fatal shooting of her mother, police say.

Paleigh N. Iannarilli, 23, stands accused of one count of murder in the second degree after 43-year-old Theresa G. Nielsen was killed in Rome, N.Y. on Monday afternoon. Police initially withheld the name of the deceased “until all notifications [were] made.”

According to the Rome Police Department, officers responded to calls of shots fired at a residence near the Mohawk Valley Community College’s Rome campus just after 12:00 p.m. and arrived at the scene to find that one person had been shot inside. The alleged victim was pronounced dead at the scene. The defendant was said to be still inside the house when police arrived — and allegedly barricaded herself at first before relenting.

No one else was injured during the shooting.

According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, the standoff was “brief,” and Rome police took Iannarilli into custody soon thereafter. In a statement, the RPD said there was “no active threat to the public” but asked “the public to avoid the area due to the heavy police presence.”

In a local news broadcast, Utica NBC affiliate WKTV showed footage of heavily-armed and outfitted law enforcement agents swarming the streets near Freedom Field in Rome during a lockout. In that footage, a distressed-looking, black-clad, and handcuffed Iannarilli is seen being led into a police vehicle.

Details of the fatal incident are currently scarce. Law enforcement had not initially offered anything in the way of a motive for the shooting.

A late-day update from police, however, suggests Iannarilli killed Nelson during some sort of a “verbal argument” with a “long gun.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time,” law enforcement said in a Facebook post.

According to the RPD, the investigation is still active.

Iannarilli is slated to appear in Rome City Court on the charges in the near future. She was arraigned on Tuesday morning and is currently detained in the Oneida County Correctional Facility without bail.

Monday’s slaying marks an unfortunate and ignominious milestone for Rome — the first homicide of the year, according to the Rome Sentinel. The shooting, however, is the second homicide in broader Oneida County during 2022 so far following a killing in nearby Utica.

Rome’s last homicide, a double-stabbing, occurred in late October 2021.

The defendant was part of the 2017 graduating class at Rome Free Academy, Rome’s lone public high school, which is located near the former site of historical Griffiss Air Force Base.

The RPD’s initial press release is below:

On Monday, February 7, 2022 at about 12:00 noon, the Rome Police Department was dispatched to a shots fired call at 105 Milton Avenue. Upon arrival we learned there was one victim with a gun shot wound in the residence. After a brief stand off one person was taken into custody. One person inside the residence is deceased. There were no other injured parties. This is an active investigation and more information will be made available as the investigation progresses. There is no active threat to the public. We are asking the public to avoid the area due to the heavy police presence. Schools were in lockout for safety precaution and that lockout has been lifted. If you should have any information about this case please contact the Rome Police Departments TIP line at (315) 339-7744, or Mohawk Valley Crime Stoppers at 1(866)730-8477 or

[image via Rome Police Department]

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