CHULUOTA, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Investigators said a Florida man killed his father, his mother and his brother, all because they did not want him to continue contact with a Bulgarian woman he had met through an adult website.
During his first appearance before a judge on Monday, 29-year-old Grant Amato showed no emotion and looked at the floor. He is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Chad Amato, 59, Margaret Amato, 61 and Cody Amato, 31, whose bodies were discovered on Friday, inside his parents' Orlando-area home on Sultan Circle in Chuluota.
Amato was immediately named as a person of interest in the case, and a day after the shootings, authorities located him at a hotel in Orange County. They took him into investigative detention, where they started questioning him. He was later released but then again taken into custody on Monday.
Amato had an addiction to pornography, according to detectives, and he was kicked out his parents' home a day before their deaths after they discovered he had broken his promise about cutting off contact with the woman.
Detectives said Amato admitted that he signed a contract with his parents, stating he would adhere to certain rules He told investigators that his father caught him communicating with her through Twitter.
The girlfriend of Cody Amoto told investigators that Grant had stolen $60,000 from Cody and sold his guns without permission. Another one of Grant’s brothers, Jason Amato, said Grant had stolen another $150,000 from their father and took out a loan against the value of their parents' home. Jason also told police that Grant dropped $200,000 on the online website Camgirls.com in just three months time.
"There's some issues there, I think we have some mental health issues," said Jeffery Dowdy, Amato's public defender. "A few months ago...he had checked himself into an internet sex addiction facility in Fort Lauderdale. He had walked off there."
According to the arrest affidavit, Amato checked into that rehabilitation center days before Christmas and left on January 5. Records also show that, in the last six months, Amato was arrested, fired from his nursing job and flunked out of graduate school. Twice since then, two different law enforcement agencies documented concerns of Amato being depressed and possibly suicidal.
Amato is being held in the Seminole County Jail, without bond. He is scheduled for arraignment on March 26 at 1:30 p.m.