Vet accused of shooting, killing wife pleads not guilty

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- The Iraq War veteran and former corrections officer accused of shooting and killing his wife while their two young sons were in the house entered a plea of not guilty during a video arraignment Thursday morning.

Anthony Rinaldi is charged with second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Amanda Blaies-Rinaldi.

According to police, it was Blaies-Rinaldi's young son, Aidan, who called 911 the night of Dec. 13. The 7-year-old told the dispatcher his parents were fighting. While he was on the phone, the little boy heard three booms, the gunshots that killed his mother.

Rinaldi fled the home, leaving Aidan and his little brother alone. He called 911 and told another dispatcher what had happened. A short time later he turned himself in to a Department of Public Safety Officer. There was a loaded handgun on the passenger seat of Rinaldi's car when he was taken into custody.

Blaies-Rinaldi's body was found in the garage of the family's home.

According to court paperwork, Rinaldi said he "snapped" and his "military training kicked in."

Blaies-Rinaldi's mother said there was a long history of domestic violence between her daughter and Rinaldi.

"He was very angry, you could sense it, you could feel it," Pamela Blaies said. "He was very controlling. … When we saw the violence start it was pounding holes in walls and kicking things."

Members of Rinaldi's infantry unit say they believe post traumatic stress disorder might have played a role in the violent tragedy. Unfortunately, that's not uncommon. Psychologists say studies have shown there is a link between PTSD and domestic violence.

Both Aidan and his grandmother told 3TV they were afraid of what Rinaldi, who was a corrections officer with the state until the shooting, might do.

"When he said go upstairs [that night], I was like, 'Please don't kill my mom. Please don't kill my mom," Aidan said.

Neither Aidan nor his 1-year-old brother was injured. The boys are now staying with relatives.

Blaies-Rinaldi was laid to rest Thursday afternoon, just hours after her husband and alleged killer's arraignment.

Rinaldi's next court date is Feb. 10.