Wife of slain Gatti wants out of jail

Updated: July 14, 2009, 6:45 PM ET
Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The Brazilian wife of Arturo Gatti asked to be released from jail, where she is held on accusations she strangled the former boxing champion with her purse strap as he drunkenly slept.

Her lawyer told The Associated Press on Tuesday he petitioned a court to release Amanda Rodrigues while the investigation continues. Celio Avelino expects the court in Recife to rule on Wednesday at the earliest.

Rodrigues told investigators she awoke Saturday about 6 a.m. to find her husband's body in the apartment they rented in Porto de Galinhas, a seaside resort in Pernambuco state. She then called police, which Avelino said indicates her willingness to help authorities.

But police said she was the only suspect and they are certain she killed Gatti in their apartment where they and their 10-month-old son arrived for a second honeymoon last week. The boy was unhurt and was in the care of Rodrigues' family.

Police spokeswoman Milena Saraiva told the AP the death may have even been premeditated and Rodrigues may have encouraged Gatti to drink excessively so she would be able to overpower him later.

"He was very drunk and that made it easier for her," Saraiva said. "He was sleeping when she did this. She waited for the moment when he was drunk enough for her to do it."

Saraiva stressed this was just one theory police were considering.

She also said Gatti's body was released to his brother and it was her understanding the body would be flown to Canada on Wednesday.

Rodrigues told police she had a fight with Gatti after dinner on Friday and he pushed her to the ground, resulting in minor injuries to her elbow and chin. Witnesses also reported to police the couple fought and Gatti was drunk.

Police said Gatti had marks on his throat, indicating he was strangled, and a knife wound to the back of his head. They displayed a bloodied, white purse strap that was found near Gatti's body, along with a small steak knife.

Saraiva said she could not confirm if Gatti was first strangled and then cut with the knife, or the opposite.

Chuck Zito, an actor and close personal friend of Gatti, said he spoke with Gatti a few weeks ago, and the boxer told him the couple was "probably going to get a divorce."

Zito and Gatti met 13 years ago, when Zito was with Pamela Anderson and Raquel Welch at an Oscar De La Hoya fight. Gatti wanted to meet Welch, and the two men struck up a close relationship. Zito ended up accompanying Gatti to the ring for several of his most notable fights.

Zito said Gatti met his wife at the strip club Scores in New York and that Gatti's friends tried to talk him out of marrying her.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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