Murder victim’s family can no longer watch court proceedings over Zoom

Reporter: Breana Ross Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:
Ronae Lagattuta and her father Ron Lagattuta (CREDIT: Courtesy)

A woman reeling from her father’s murder wants to make sure she can watch as the court system gets justice for her family.

But, Ronae Lagattuta hit a snag.

When courts reopened in person, they stopped doing proceedings over Zoom and she lives states away.

Ronae told WINK News a judicial assistant said she has two options: travel from New York to be in court in person or get updates from the attorney representing her dad’s suspected killer.

 “Why would you want me to talk to him? Why would, why would I,” Ronae said. 

Her dad Ron Lagattuta was found dead inside of his Jamaica Bay home on March 2.

His suspected killer Michael Wasko, 46, was arrested in Georgia after fleeing.

Ronae said her dad, an 80-year-old veteran, always helped everyone. He liked heliping the homeless. The last man he took into his home was Wasko.

A report says the two weren’t getting along so her dad asked Wasko to leave.

Days later, deputies found Lagattuta bruised and battered, stuffed in a closet.

“I can’t even comprehend in my brain, like what actually happened to him. It’s like, it’s destroyed me because I have these images in my head that I can’t get out and it’s horrible,” Ronae said. “It’s hard. My dad was 80 years old trying to help people … This guy’s a monster in my eyes.”

Ronae was able to tune into every court proceeding from her home in New York when they were held on Zoom because of the pandemic but that is no longer the case.

She wants to be part of every court hearing and pretrial conference to make sure she gets justice for her father.

“When the courts opened back up completely, they stopped zooming,” Ronae said.

Ronae is not the only one in this situation. There are victim advocates who work with families like the Lagattutas.

The State Attorney’s Office said an advocate would be in touch with Ronae very soon.

“I just want my dad to be at peace,” she said.

A 20th Judicial Circuit Court spokesperson provided the following statement:

“Judges are still using Zoom for certain court proceedings. It depends on the proceeding and the judge. The courts are open and people are welcome to come and watch proceedings in person. Zoom and live streaming was offered as a way to provide access to court hearings when courtrooms were under limited capacity. “

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