Slaying suspect back in jail

By D.A. Wilkinson

Several small pipe bombs were found at the house.

IRONDALE — A man accused of killing his wife and who was staying with his father is back in jail after authorities charged him with having a gun while awaiting trial.

Columbiana County Sheriff Raymond Stone said Thursday afternoon that Jack C. Amato Jr. was in the county jail.

Deputy sheriffs and agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation served the search warrant about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

While awaiting trial, Amato Jr. had been staying with his father, Dr. Jack Amato, president of the county’s health board, at the doctor’s home at 41866 Old Irondale Road. The arrangement was part of his bail after his arrest. The arrangement also called for him to wear an electronic monitor.

The search Wednesday was to find firearms, shell casings and bullets that could be evidence in the case, the sheriff’s office said.

The Youngstown Police Department Bomb Squad was called out after deputies located several small pipe bombs in the house.

Stone wasn’t sure if the bombs had been disarmed or safely exploded. The bomb squad was reportedly in the field and could not be reached Thursday.

Atty. Lynn A. Grimshaw of Wheelersburg has been appointed the special prosecutor in the case against Amato Jr. He did not return a call.

County Prosecutor Robert Herron also could not be reached. Grimshaw was appointed after Herron officially stepped down because he represents the county health department.

Dr. Amato was not present at Wednesday night’s health board meeting.

Court documents filed last year indicated that the weapon that Amato Jr. said he used to shoot and kill his wife wasn’t the weapon that killed her.

Investigators then searched the house again and removed more shell casings.

Amato Jr. had told investigators that he shot his wife after they argued at their home at 1200 Commerce St., Wellsville.

Authorities were notified of the shooting about 1:40 p.m. July 1, 2007.

Tonia Brundage Amato, 25, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Amato Jr. told police that his wife had fired at him and that he returned fire, shooting her once between the eyes. She was found face down on the floor in a living room area.

Authorities originally seized a .22-caliber pistol and a spent shell and a .45-caliber revolver and a spent shell. Police found several guns in the house.

The search warrant is expected to be returned to the courts today. Amato Jr. is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 17.