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Man acquitted in firearms violations case


In a rare insanity finding, a federal judge acquitted yesterday a former Annapolis restaurateur charged with violating firearms laws last fall after police found a cache of weapons and military explosives in his waterfront home.

U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin ordered that Eugenio A. Giolitti complete an extensive mental health treatment plan and agree to close monitoring. But the judge allowed Giolitti, who has been in federal custody since August, to go home with his wife.

Eugenio and Mary Giolitti, known for their efforts to bring authentic Italian cooking to Annapolis, embraced after the brief hearing, then left the federal courthouse in Baltimore without comment.

In finding Giolitti not guilty by reason of insanity, Smalkin accepted a psychiatrist's findings that Giolitti suffered from delusional and bipolar disorders and did not understand that he was wrong to keep three unregistered silencers in his Stevensville home, along with military explosives in the attic above his children's room.

Giolitti, 39, a former Navy SEAL, was evaluated at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., where he has been held since November. In court yesterday, Smalkin said it was "extraordinarily rare" for Butner evaluators to reach such a conclusion.

The insanity defense is raised by a small fraction of federal criminal defendants, and typically a small number are acquitted.

The conditional release agreement that Smalkin approved for Giolitti was worked out by government prosecutors and defense attorneys. The judge's open-ended order requires Giolitti to undergo a treatment program through the Veterans Affairs Mental Health program in Baltimore and prohibits him from owning firearms.

Butner psychiatrists said in court papers that Giolitti has responded well to treatment and medication in recent months and posed no risk to the community.

"It's so obvious there was a serious problem that is now being addressed and will continue to be addressed as Mr. Giolitti is monitored," Smalkin said.

Giolitti was arrested in August after the Queen Anne's County sheriff's office responded to a dispute between him and a neighbor. During a search of his home, investigators found numerous firearms, a land mine, other military explosives, detonating cord and blasting caps. Giolitti was indicted on a charge of possessing unregistered firearms and improper storage of explosive material.

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