As Gerardo Lombardi watched surveyors install stakes between the two properties, he decided to load his gun, get a knife from his car and confront his former daughter-in-law, who won custody of the home he had built and owned for many years.

By Debra Friedman STAFF WRITER
Published: 09:53 p.m., Tuesday, March 9, 2010

STAMFORD -- A 77-year-old Pemberwick man charged with killing his ex-daughter-in-law sat emotionless Tuesday as witnesses gave detailed accounts of the September 2008 slaying during the first day of his murder trial in state Superior Court.

Gerardo Lombardi, of 38 Nicholas Ave., was charged with murder on Sept. 4, 2008, hours after police said he shot and stabbed to death Alison McKnight, a mother of three, as she was gardening in the backyard of 36 Nicholas Ave.

The courtroom was filled with members of McKnight's family Tuesday, but the room remained silent as witnesses discussed the extent of her wounds and prosecutors played a chilling tape in which Lombardi confessed to the crime.

The first to testify before a three-judge panel was a land surveyor who was working to set up perimeters for a fence that morning when he heard gunshots and a cry for help before witnessing the end of the attack.

"We heard a voice yelling, `Somebody help me,' " Joseph Polumbo recalled.

Polumbo said he and his colleague began running toward the backyard where McKnight was gardening when they heard five shots.

"We stopped in our tracks and called 911," said Polumbo. "Then I proceeded to go to the rear to see if someone had been shot. I saw Mr. Lombardi on top of another person." ...

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