Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Amy Fisher

Temporary Freedom

In the meantime, Joey remained completely in the clear. He was so confident of his innocence that in June 1992 he called The Howard Stern Show and suggested that he never cheated on his wife, denying that he ever had an affair with Amy. There was a great deal of skepticism about Joeys claim, yet he continued to maintain his innocence. His entire family, including Mary Jo, also supported Joeys claims, refusing to believe that he had any involvement in the shooting or relationship with Amy.

To many people's surprise, after more than two months in jail, Amy was finally released on bail. KLM Productions, their agent Ron Yatter, and the owner of International Fidelity Insurance Company reached an agreement with the president of Nationwide Bail Bond, Ron Olszowy, to secure Amys bail bond after they had successfully raised the $2 million needed for her temporary release. KLM Productions helped raise the money in exchange for the rights to Amys story. It was an unconventional move but a victory nevertheless for both Amy and Naiburg.

A little more than a week later, Mary Jo filed a lawsuit against Amy, her parents and Peter Guagenti, who admitted a month earlier to supplying Amy with the gun used in the shooting. The weapon, which was later found in a sewer near Amys house, was important evidence. Joey and Mary Jo hoped that the testimony and physical evidence would be enough to keep Amy behind bars for a long time. If Amy was found guilty of the charges, she could receive up to 50 years in jail.

Naiburg wanted to make sure Amy would not spend the majority of her life behind bars. Naiburg made an agreement with Klein, in which Amy would receive between five to fifteen years in jail and immunity in exchange for testimony against Joey. Much to the Buttafuocos outrage, Amy accepted a plea bargain in late September 1992.

Two days after the announcement of the plea bargain, a potentially damaging tape was aired on the television news program Hard Copy. Amys ex-boyfriend Paul Makely secretly made the video the day before she accepted the plea bargain. In the tape, Paul and Amy were having a conversation about what Amy would like before she went to prison. Amy jokingly stated that she wanted a Ferrari for all the pain and suffering she endured. She also stated that she hoped Paul would marry her so she could have conjugal visits.

Even though much of the dialog was stated in a humoristic tone, it did not win Amy any public acceptance. In fact, it further damaged her credibility. Amy was so distraught over Pauls betrayal that shortly after the tape aired, she tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of tranquilizers. However, her attempt was discovered in the nick of time. After Amys stomach was pumped, she was admitted to the psychiatric unit of Huntington Hospital where she made a gradual recovery over a month.

Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco
Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco

In late October 1992, a representative of Nassau Countys DAs office stated that they would not prosecute Joey in connection with the crime. The Buttafuocos were relieved by the decision and Joey announced that he was finally exonerated.

Amy would not be so lucky. She was sentenced for up to 15 years in Albion Correctional Facility prison in December of that year. Joey Guagenti, the wheelman of the car, was also sentenced the following February. He received six months in jail for obtaining a gun for Amy.

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