Francis “Nicky” Nicolosi Murder: How Did Eleanor Nicolosi Die?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Fatal Vows: The Bad Apple’ delves into the death of Francis “Nicky” Nicolosi in September 2001. Despite finding his body quickly enough, the authorities took more than two years to make an arrest. What followed was a years-long process that involved two trials ending with the same verdict: a conviction. So, if you’re curious about what happened in this case, we’ve got you covered!

How Did Francis “Nicky” Nicolosi Die?

Francis was originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 75-year-old was described as an outgoing man. He had been married to Eleanor Nicolosi since 1995, and at the time of the incident, they lived in Munroe County, Pennsylvania. Francis had four children from a previous marriage and had been married to Eleanor twice before, with both ending in an annulment. On September 5, 2001, Eleanor called the police to report Francis missing.

Eleanor stated that she had last seen Francis during the afternoon the day before when he went to pick apples. When the authorities searched in and around the property, they found his body about 150 yards from their home in the orchard. Francis’ remains were found under a pile of 3 pieces of carpet. He was shot four times: once in the back and chest and twice in the stomach with a .38-caliber handgun.

Who Killed Francis “Nicky” Nicolosi?

The investigators also found a suitcase filled with clothes in Francis’ car close to his body, along with some cash and apples. The keys to the car were found in Eleanor’s purse along with almost $6000 and a recording of an argument between the couple. She told the police that she couldn’t go to the orchard because she had difficulty walking. But authorities later acquired a video of her walking without any trouble days after the murder. Eleanor’s suspicious behavior after Francis’ death and other witness statements firmly placed her on the top of the suspect list.

Eleanor had told a friend that Francis had been shot to death even before the autopsy confirmed the same. She repeated something similar to a neighbor of theirs on the day she called the police. Furthermore, another witness testified that Eleanor threatened to kill Francis if she caught him cheating on her. Other witnesses claimed that Francis was paranoid leading up to the murder; he was afraid his wife would poison him. Eleanor was also categorized as controlling, and Francis had complained that she took all of his money.

While the murder weapon, a .38-caliber handgun, was never recovered, the authorities found a holster for a .38-caliber gun at the couple’s home. They also had proof of Eleanor dumping .38-caliber bullets in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, on September 24, 2001. The defense claimed that Francis was possibly killed by a hunter or another friend that he had fallen out with. They stated that there was no physical evidence tying Eleanor to the murder, making the case mostly a circumstantial one.

How Did Eleanor Francis Die?

In 2005, Eleanor was convicted of her husband’s murder. But an ensuing appeal was successful, resulting in her conviction being overturned in 2008. A new trial was held in 2010, where the defense reiterated the circumstantial nature of the case and had an expert testify that Eleanor had carpal tunnel syndrome. They claimed that her hands would have been too weak to hold a gun and shoot it. Nevertheless, she was found guilty of first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in December 2010.

Eleanor, then 76 years old, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in February 2011. She stated that she didn’t get a fair trial both times, adding, “I’m innocent of all charges and accusations perpetrated by a justice system I no longer have any faith in.” From what we can tell, it seems that Eleanor died on January 30, 2021, of a heart attack. She was about 86 years old at the time of her death.

Read More: How Did Desiree Sunford Die?