Timothy Boczkowski

Just after midnight on November 8, 1994, Timothy Boczkowski beat and strangled his wife, Maryann, in the hot tub in their 306 Noring Court, Ross Township home. He then summoned paramedics, claiming she was intoxicated and drowned accidentally while he was elsewhere in the home. She was pronounced dead at 1:40am.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 9, 1994

Questioned by police, Boczkowski denied any involvement in Maryann’s death. However, he made a series of suspicious statements to police and paramedics, explaining that the scratches on his face and hands were from a massage his wife had given him and requesting that his wife be transported to a more distant hospital than they had planned. He also agreed to take a polygraph test, which he failed.

Police suspicions surrounding the circumstances of Maryann’s death were further heightened when they learned that Boczkowski’s first wife, Mary Elaine Boczkowski, died in the hot tub of their Greensboro, North Carolina, home on November 4, 1990. She was also intoxicated. The couple had married and lived in Pittsburgh before moving to North Carolina.

Though the circumstances and manner of Mary Elaine’s death had been considered suspicious – an autopsy had revealed bruises and no water was found in her lungs, indicating she had not drowned – Greensboro police did not pursue a case against Boczkowski.

On November 15, 1994, Ross Township police arrested Boczkowski after an autopsy revealed that Maryann died due to blunt force trauma and asphyxiation. Her blood alcohol content was .22.

Their investigation revealed that in each case, Boczkowski had a large life insurance policy on his wife. In each case, he also took premeditated steps to create the appearance that his wife was an alcoholic so as to establish the deaths as accidental drownings.

Prompted to reopen the investigation into the death of Mary Elaine Boczkowski, on November 29, 1994, North Carolina authorities determined that Mary Elaine Boczkowski had been strangled to death and filed charges against Boczkowski.

While awaiting judicial proceedings in Pittsburgh, Boczkowski was extradited to North Carolina despite a judge’s order to hold him for trial in Allegheny County. On November 1, 1996, a Guilford County, North Carolina jury convicted him of killing his first wife and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

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Charlotte Observer, November 2, 1996

Returned to Pittsburgh to face trial, Boczkowski was convicted on May 5, 1999, and sentenced to death on May 6, 1999. The evidence of Boczkowski’s guilt was overwhelming.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 6, 1999

On appeal, on March 23, 2004, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Boczkowski’s death sentence on the grounds that the court erred in allowing him to be tried first in North Carolina (Commonwealth v. Boczkowski, 577 Pa. 421, 2004). Because that first conviction  provided the sole legal basis for imposing a death sentence rather than a life sentence, Pennsylvania should not have permitted Boczkowski’s extradition. He was resentenced to life imprisonment.

Afterwards, Timothy Boczkowski’s custody was transferred back to North Carolina, where he is presently serving a life sentence.

The sensational story of the Boczkowski murders has been told in the true crime book, Please Don’t Kill Mommy and in an episode of the true crime television program, Forensic Files. Much more information about this case is also available at Bonnie’s Blog of Crime.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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