Bail Bondswoman Arraigned On Manslaughter Charges

A Plainville bail bondswoman has been charged with first degree manslaughter in the shooting death of her new boyfriend Wednesday night in West Hartford. But, a judge didn’t agree with the $50,000 bond set by West Hartford police.

Angela Grasso-Cunha, 27, who has no prior criminal record, was arraigned in Hartford Superior Court Thursday morning following the death of 23 year old Jose Mendez of Hartford, who has a long criminal record, which includes five pending cases. She told police he threatened to kill her family and force her to watch.

Grasso-Cunha’s attorney, Walter Hussey of Hartford, told Judge Joan K. Alexander what a West Hartford detective told him about the charges.

“It was a call that quite frankly he said he was struggling with, in terms of even charging her,” said Hussey. “But, he said he felt that he had to.”

“In the circumstances that were presented to this department, the state’s attorney was involved in it,” said West Hartford Police lieutenant Ted Stoneburner. “We felt that was, at the time, a reasonable bail.”

In the police report, Grasso-Cunha said José Mendez, whom she had been dating for about three weeks, threatened to kill her family and make her watch. She said his rage stemmed from his claim that she had given him a sexually-transmitted disease.

Grasso-Cunha told cops that she feared for her family’s life.  So, as she and Mendez were pulling into Wendy’s, on Prospect Street in West Hartford, she reached for her purse, grabbed her pistol and shot him in the head.

Judge Joan K. Alexander questioned the self defense claim, given that Grasso-Cunha shot Mendez in the temple and no other weapons were found in the vehicle. The judge upped the bail to $750,000 and ordered home confinement for Grasso-Cunha, whose next court appearance is April 24.

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