Woman claims accident in Schuylerville shooting
SCHUYLERVILLE A woman accused of murder in the fatal shooting of her boyfriend last summer stuck to her story throughout a police interrogation that the high-powered rifle went off by accident, according to written and verbal statements she made to police in the six hours after he was killed.
Joey M. Paul, 29, of 82 Church St., Schuylerville, told a consistent story from the time she was arrested at the apartment she shared with Matthew K. Furlani, 28, on July 1, 2012, until later that day when she asked police for an attorney and they stopped questioning her.
Her statements to police were made public in a hearing Tuesday in Saratoga County Court to determine whether they can be used as evidence at her trial, which is scheduled for Aug. 12. Judge Jerry J. Scarano did not render a decision at the hearing.
She is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and second-degree possession of a weapon.
Paul has been in the Saratoga County Jail since her arrest and appeared at Tuesday’s hearing in the regulation green jumpsuit.
A detailed written statement Paul gave to police describes her on-again, off-again relationship with Furlani, who she believes was the father of her child and with whom she had recently reunited to raise the 4-month-old baby. Things had been going well, she said, describing how their last few days together included watching movies and cuddling, having sex and napping.
“He treats me really well,” she told police in the statement. “When I was pregnant, he made sure I made it to my doctor’s appointments and made sure I ate well.”
That morning, the two had taken a walk and were “fooling around” in bed when they heard a knock at their door around 10:30 a.m.
“Matt jumped up so fast that he put his shorts on backward,” she said.
Furlani, whom she described as protective of her and who also had paranoid schizophrenia, believed it was Paul’s ex-boyfriend at the door and retrieved a loaded AK-47 from under the bed, placing it on the bed, she said.
He paced in and out of the room several times.
“Matt came back into our bedroom and said, ‘Jo, give me the gun,’ ” she told police. She picked the rifle up and handed it to him with the barrel facing Furlani.
“Matt grabbed it kind of hard and the gun went off,” she said. “There was Matt’s blood everywhere.”
The rifle fired a single bullet into Furlani’s head.
“She didn’t know if she was the one who pulled the trigger or if Mr. Furlani pulled the trigger,” said state police investigator Kevin Noto, who questioned Paul that day.
She had never shot a gun before and had only held a gun three times previously, Paul told police.
Furlani wanted to teach her to shoot guns, she said.
The two had dated for 31⁄2 years, breaking up and getting back together during that time, Paul told police. During one of the breakup periods, Paul dated another man, of whom Furlani was “really jealous” when they got back together.
Although she was fairly certain her child was Furlani’s, she told police there was a chance it might be her ex-boyfriend’s, and before they got back together for the final time Furlani had asked for a paternity test.
Both Furlani and Paul used drugs illegally, and she struggled with addiction, according to her statement.
Paul told police she developed an addiction to the prescription painkillers hydrocodone and oxycodone after taking them for jaw pain and knee pain. Furlani took several prescription drugs and sold some of them for money; he also bought other pills from friends, she said.
At the end of her typed statement to police, Paul hand-wrote a message to Furlani, Noto said. The heartfelt note expressed her grief at losing him.
“I will never give my heart away the way I gave it to you,” she wrote.
After Noto read her statement in court, Paul grabbed several tissues from the table in front of her and dabbed her eyes.
At the time of the shooting, Paul already had a felony burglary charge pending against her in the city of Mechanicville for allegedly stealing property from her brother’s home, police said then.