SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The nieces and nephew of 93-year-old Connie Tuori were in the courtroom Wednesday morning when the woman accused of torturing their aunt to death told the judge she wants to “plead guilty.”
In an interview with NewsChannel 9, Tuori’s niece, Sue Leone, says, “Part of me is happy that might be the outcome because that would spare my family and everybody else of the details that have yet to come out.”
Leone says she’s still not past the details revealed in last week’s Onondaga County Grand Jury indictment against Afet, which accuses her of murder Tuori by putting objects in her mouth to suffocate her and stabbing her.
“I’m trying really hard not to think that the last thing she saw before she departed this life was the anger, the angry face of (Afet),” Leone says.
Seated just behind Afet at her indictment Thursday, Tuori’s neice, Sandy Tuori-Bell, recalled, “I tried to make eye contact. I wanted to see if I could look into soul of the person that would do that.”
After Tuori spent much of her life traveling the world and sometimes visiting dangerous cities, her family still can’t get over the fact that she died at home.
“It was within a couple miles of where she grew up is where she passed away,” her nephew, Guy Tuori said. “That’s hard.”
The family has taken an active role in advocating for their aunt’s surviving tenants at Skyline, which has been scrutinized for a lack of security and cleanliness.
“This person should not have been walking the street, let alone an apartment building and roam the halls and terrorize other tenants and frankly a city that didn’t do anything against this landlord until someone was murdered,” said Tuori-Bell.
Tuori-Bell and Leone both attended a public nuisance hearing at Syracuse City Hall to put their complaints about Skyline Apartments on the record, as the City of Syracuse works to hold the apartment building’s owners accountable.
The family doesn’t want attention, but they want attention on the reasons their aunt died and work to memorialize her legacy.
Sue Leone said, “We want her to be remember not by how she died, but by the way that she lived. She touched so many people. The cards and letters that we’re getting and the phone calls from people that don’t even know us, but knew her, but made an effort to reach out is really comforting.”