Restaurant owner sentenced to 14 years for murder

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 19, 2021




MOUNT CLEMENS — On June 14, Villa Restaurant co-owner Joseph Palleschi was sentenced to be imprisoned for 14 years after pleading guilty to murder.

Palleschi, 55, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder April 6 in front of Judge James Maceroni in Macomb County Circuit Court. The crime in question was the Jan. 16 shooting death of his wife, Karen, inside the couple’s home.

“On Jan. 16, 2021, I never woke up saying, ‘I’m going to kill Karen,’” Palleschi said in court. “It was a tragic event that cost me my soulmate and a great woman for life.”

Palleschi tearfully addressed the court.

“Karen and I were married 39 years, the greater part of my life. We had three sons together. She was my best friend, my children’s mother and my wife. Together, we weathered many storms. I love my wife dearly, and not a minute goes by that I don’t think about her. It’s devastating. This was not a marriage on the rocks, your honor. It was just a tragedy because of a bad decision. I should never have picked up a firearm while intoxicated. Karen, my wife, the person I shared my life with, I would give my life to restore hers, but that is not possible. I am sorry, Karen. Before the eyes of justice, our children and your family, I’m sorry that this bad decision cost you your life.”

Palleschi’s attorney, Randy Rodnick, defended his client, saying that Palleschi is not a violent person by nature and that his actions were a horrible mistake.

“My client has no prior record, and he did own a business,” said Rodnick. “He was married and involved with the deceased for more than 35 years. They had three beautiful boys, and it is just an unfortunate situation. He was drinking, and he had a gun.”

Rodnick requested the sentence be reduced by a year, which was within the guidelines for sentencing. However, Maceroni denied this request.

“I have reviewed the presentence investigative report, and I also have a letter from the brother of the defendant, the sister of the defendant and a letter from one of the children of the defendant, and also, obviously, the deceased,” said Maceroni. “These are horrible circumstances all around. I appreciate that the family is in a horrible situation being involved with the defendant and also being victims of this matter. … I have taken into account that he doesn’t have any prior record and that this is a first offense, but the first offense is not breaking and entering — it’s taking somebody else’s life.”

Palleschi was sentenced for one count of felony firearm to two years in the Michigan Department of Corrections, with credit for 150 days already served, and for one count of second-degree murder to 12-30 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections. The two sentences are to run consecutively, not concurrently.

Maceroni said he believed 14 years, which was the minimum suggested by court guidelines for sentencing for the crimes, was sufficient.

“The defendant has taken some responsibility here. He did make some statements in the (presentence investigative report) that I found concerning, where he didn’t seem to take any responsibility,” said Maceroni. “I understand he was (cooperative throughout this process) and he was the one that contacted the police. That mitigates fashioning a sentence that would otherwise be appropriate, but I do believe a sentence at the bottom of guidelines is still appropriate, and I see no reason to depart from them further.”

While a condition of no contact with the victim’s family is standard as part of a sentence of this nature, Maceroni waived this in Palleschi’s case since they are his family, as well.