The Murder-For-Hire Case That Almost Ended The House Of Gucci
Italian socialite Patrizia Reggiani was sentenced to 29 years behind bars for her part in Maurizio Gucci’s 1995 shooting death.
Around 8:30 a.m. on March 27, 1995, former fashion scion Maurizio Gucci arrived at his private office in Milan, Italy.
“It was a lovely spring morning, very quiet,” Giuseppe Onorato, the building’s then doorman later recalled in an interview with The Guardian. “Mr. Gucci arrived carrying some magazines and said ‘Good morning.’”
The next thing Onorato saw was a hand clutching a gun. A man armed with a 7.65-mm pistol shot Gucci, 46, three times in the back and once in the head. The gunman then fired at Onorato, striking him twice in the arm.
By the time help arrived, “I was cradling Mr Gucci’s head,” Onorato told the newspaper. “He died in my arms.”
Patrizia Reggiani heard the news about her ex-husband Gucci’s death and said she had mixed emotions.
“I was very happy because all my problems were gone,” she said in an episode of People Magazine Investigates: Crimes of Fashion. “And then I started feeling very lost.”
Reggiani first met the Italian businessman at a party. The couple eventually fell in love and got married in 1972.
“Maurizio felt free with me. We had fun, we were a team,” Reggiani, 72, told The Guardian of their whirlwind relationship, which included jetting around the world and rubbing shoulders with Jackie Kennedy Onassis and other high-society friends. “We were a beautiful couple and we had a beautiful life, of course.”
In 1983, Gucci’s father Rodolfo died, and he inherited half the family’s stake in their eponymous luxury fashion brand. Reggiani, once known as “Lady Gucci,” claimed that’s when their relationship troubles started.
“Maurizio got crazy. Until then I was his chief adviser about all Gucci matters. But he wanted to be the best, and he stopped listening to me,” she told The Guardian of her husband, who lost the company millions of dollars after he took the reins.
The Italian socialite’s formerly picture-perfect life continued to spiral out of her control. In May 1985, following 12 years of marriage, Gucci left her for another woman, Paola Franchi.
After a lengthy legal battle, Gucci and Reggiani’s divorce became official in 1991.
Stream Now: Lady Gucci: The Story Of Patrizia Reggiani
Four years later, Reggiani became the prime suspect in her ex-husband’s death, but she remained free due to a lack of evidence.
In 1997, however, police received an anonymous tip that helped unravel the murder plot and led to the arrest of Reggiani and four co-conspirators — Giuseppina Auriemma, Ivano Savioni, Benedetto Ceraulo and Orazio Cicala.
The New York Times reported that Auriemma, who was Reggiani’s personal psychic, helped Gucci’s ex-wife by contacting hotel porter Ivano Savioni, who in turn had a hand in hiring the Sicilian hitman, Ceraulo, and getaway driver, Cicala.
Reggiani’s five-month trial began in May 1998. At the time, prosecutor Carlo Nocerino claimed Reggiani’s motives for wanting Gucci dead included jealousy, economic reasons and “the rancor she felt for her husband,” according to People.
Reggiani’s defense team argued her very public threats against Gucci’s life were the result of mental issues she experienced following surgery for a brain tumor in 1992.
A jury disagreed. In November 1998, Reggiani was found guilty of plotting to murder the fashion mogul.
Reggiani was sentenced to 29 years behind bars. The psychic, porter, and getaway driver received punishments originally ranging from 25 to 29 years. The gunman was handed a life sentence.
“Maurizio is dead because of Patrizia’s hatred, Auriemma’s desire to remain a parasite, Savioni’s lust for money, Cicala’s gambling addiction and Ceraulo’s dream to take his daughter out shopping,” the judge said at sentencing, according to The Daily Beast.
Reggiani, who still maintains she had nothing to do with Gucci’s death, ended up serving 16 years in Milan’s San Vittore Prison and was released in 2014.
“If I could see Maurizio again, I would tell him that I love him, because he is the person who has mattered most to me in my life,” Reggiani said to The Guardian.
In response, she added, “I think he’d say the feeling wasn’t mutual.”
Get a deeper look inside this fashion family drama. Watch Lady Gucci: The Story Of Patrizia Reggiani on discovery+.