Accused Newark Police Lt. Formisano makes first court appearance

JEFFERSON. Appearing via video link, Acting Newark Police Lt. John Formisano, 49, pleaded not guilty Aug. 28 to multiple charges in connection with the fatal shooting of his estranged wife Christine Solaro, 37, and the wounding of another man the night of July 14.

Newark /
04 Sep 2019 | 11:06

By Nicole M. Wells

More than a month after allegedly fatally shooting his estranged wife and seriously injuring her male guest, Acting Newark Police Lt. John Formisano, 49, pleaded not guilty Aug. 28 to the charges against him.

Formisano is charged with first-degree murder and first degree attempted murder, as well as two counts of possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. The four additional counts are second degree offences.

He appeared in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown via video link, his attorney Anthony J. Iacullo said.

Iacullo said the delay in making his first court appearance was due to medical care Formisano has been receiving since his arrest.

“The focus of the defense is to ensure that the medical and psychiatric personnel that are treating John have the time necessary to conduct a proper evaluation and engage in the treatment necessary,” he said. “We will evaluate his progress prior to the next court date scheduled for Oct. 7 and proceed in accordance with their medical recommendations.”

It was unclear where Formisano is receiving treatment.

Formisano told police he “blacked out” after he entered his home at 1 Mirror Place the night of July 14 and suspected that his estranged wife Christine Solaro, 37, had a male guest in the bedroom, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Formisano told police that he did remember firing his weapon multiple times at both Christine and the male guest, who has not been identified by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.

Christine Solaro’s body was found on the front porch steps of 5 Mirror Place by first responders, with gunshot wounds to the abdomen, arm, leg, hand and head.

Identified in the affidavit only by his initials, Solaro’s male guest T.S. said Formisano broke the bedroom door and fired a handgun in his direction numerous times, hitting him in the thigh, hand, arms and abdomen.

Formisano was found at 2 a.m. on July 15 in a parking lot in Livingston and was taken into custody by police there. His vehicle was also recovered, as well as a handgun in the trunk, according to the affidavit.

At the time of his arrest, he told police he and Christine were in the process of getting divorced.

Newark Police Public Information Supervisor Mark S. Di Ionno said Formisano is a 24-year veteran of the department, who was recently promoted to acting lieutenant from the rank of sergeant. He was immediately suspended without pay following the incident.