Cotuit Man Charged in Stabbing Death of Wife Held Without Bail

BARNSTABLE — Christopher S. Fratantonio of Cotuit talks with his attorneys, Attorney Ruth McLaughlin, left, and Colleen Duarte, right, during his arraignment in Barnstable District Court Tuesday afternoon. He was charged for killing his wife Mary J. Fratantonio.
Merrily Cassidy/Cape Cod Times pool photo

COTUIT – A Cotuit man was ordered held without bail Tuesday in the fatal stabbing of his wife in their home.

Christopher S. Fratantonio, 36, had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on the charges of murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

He will return to court on March 27 for a pretrial hearing.

According to Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, Barnstable Police received several 911 calls about a violent crime that happened at a home at 89 Trout Brook Road at 1:50 a.m.

On arrival, officers encountered Fratantonio outside the house. According to a police report, he immediately made statements to officers that led them to believe he had stabbed his wife, Mary J. Fratantonio, 35.

Once inside, police located her body in a bedroom with multiple stab wounds.

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Fratantonio was subsequently arrested and charged with murder. According to police, he gave a detailed description of his motive and how he allegedly carried out the attack, including the location of the knife.

“It was a very difficult crime scene to deal with for the police, owing to a number of circumstances,” said O’Keefe.

Mary Fratantonio was a first-year 8th grade special education teacher at Barnstable High School, according to the department’s website. Students and staff have been notified about situation.

O’Keefe said two children who were also inside the home at the time the woman was killed were unharmed. They are currently being cared for by family and state welfare officials.

State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office and Barnstable Police are investigating. O’Keefe said they were still in the “early stages” of the investigation.

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O’Keefe could not comment on the circumstances surrounding the killing, but said there was something, “that was a trigger for this event.”

“It appears from all of the circumstances thus far that we can gleen, that this was a domestic violence murder,” said O’Keefe.

Friends of the family were shocked Tuesday afternoon to hear the news of the murder.

Eric Christensen of Hyannis went to school with Fratantonio’s brother at Cape Cod Regional Technical High School and later worked with the suspect for several years at a Cape Cod flooring company.

Both would later go on to start their own companies and help each other out with jobs. Christensen said he and others who knew the family were shocked to hear the news.

“They just seemed like a regular, everyday married couple,” he said.

“We never saw this coming,” said Christensen.

Christopher Fratantonio had two children with Mary and two children from a previous relationship. “I feel bad for the kids, I feel bad for her (Mary) mother and her stepdad. It’s just shocking,” Christensen said.

At Barnstable High School where Mary, who was also known by many as Molly, taught, principal Pat Clark said crisis intervention teams were providing grief counseling for students and staff.

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“She became a well-respected member of our faculty immediately. It’s a sad day,” said Clark. Counselors and support staff will be on hand in the coming days.

“We’ve been around to the classrooms to speak with students and done extensive work today with her students in particular,” said Clark.

The district attorney said Cape Cod is not immune to the national issue of domestic violence.

“These things happen all too frequently across the country and across our region,” said O’Keefe.

By MATT PITTA, NewsCenter

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