Man charged in murder-for-hire plot testifies friend confessed to killing estranged wife’s boyfriend


CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — More details in the murder trial of Joshua M. Federico, a Chesterfield man accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife’s boyfriend last August, were revealed Tuesday in a second day of testimony.

Federico has been accused of killing 38-year-old Lawrence J. Howell, who was living with his estranged wife, Sarah Federico, at her home on Second Branch Road, in the late hours of Aug. 23, 2018. Police said they found S. Federico at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds.

Following the murder of Howell, J. Federico led authorities on a three-day manhunt before he was arrested. On Monday, S. Federico testified that J. Federico killed Howell and shot her multiple times.

The prosecution called a dozen more witnesses to speak Tuesday about the evidence they say will convict J. Federico. The jury heard testimony from forensic investigators and police who responded to the scene.

Investigators said they found stained towels that were used to track down a smoldering fire pit on J. Federico’s farm. According to testimony, investigators found humans remains burning among tires and wood in the fire pit. The remains were identified as Howell’s skeleton through dental records, the assistant medical examiner said.

Authorities who responded to the scene said they found items on the farm, including more than a dozen firearms, ammunition, cleaning supplies and wads of cash. The defense argued that those items could be used for hunting.

A friend and neighbor of J. Federico, Constantine Trikoulis, also testified in court Tuesday. He claimed that J. Federico confessed to him and asked for a place to hide after Howell’s murder.

The defense attacked Trikoulis’ integrity, saying he has lied to police before and should not be trusted.

Trikoulis, who has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot in connection to the case, told the court he found nearly $200,000 in a safe buried on J. Federico’s property after Howell’s death. Trikoulis said he kept $20,000 and gave the rest to J. Federico’s brother, Joseph Federico, who has also been charged in the murder-for-hire plot. J. Federico’s brother and mother have also been charged in the murder-for-hire plot.

The prosecution is expected to rest its case Wednesday morning as J. Federico’s legal team prepares his defense.

Stay with 8News for updates to this trial.

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