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Wife told acquaintance she and Chicago cop arranged 1979 murder

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Updated: June 10, 2013 2:02PM

Jacquelyn Greco allegedly told an acquaintance in 1979 that she wanted out of her troubled marriage so badly she and her lover — a Chicago police detective — had concocted a deadly plan:

They’d kill her husband.

Weeks later, two masked gunmen burst into the family’s upscale Inverness home and locked Greco, along with three of her children, in a bedroom closet.

When her husband, 34-year-old Carl Gaimari, returned home an hour later, the intruders shot the wealthy commodities trader to death in his basement with two of his own guns.

A week after her husband’s April 30, 1979 slaying, Jacquelyn Greco’s lover moved into the house, Cook County authorities contend. Barely three months later, on Aug. 10, the couple married, court records show.

Carl Gaimari’s killing remained a mystery until earlier this year when his wife, now known as Jacquelyn Greco, was arrested at her Michigan home and charged with arranging his murder.

The 66-year-old Greco, who moved to Michigan in 2005, was ordered jailed without bond Wednesday during her first Cook County court appearance on the murder charge she faces.

Her former lover-turned-second husband wasn’t charged, though prosecutors contended during her court hearing she earlier implicated him in the killing.

In early 1979, Greco allegedly told an acquaintance that she and her lover had a plan to disguise Gaimari’s murder as a home invasion, Assistant State’s Attorney Ethan Holland said during Greco’s hearing.

To complete the ruse, Greco allegedly said some valuable items would be taken from the house, Holland said.

The Sun-Times isn’t naming the retired detective because he hasn’t been charged.

The former cop, who went on disability after being wounded in a duty-related shooting but later recovered and returned to work, didn’t want to talk about the allegations against him and his former wife, said a woman who answered the door Wednesday at his Chicago home.

“He’s upstairs on an oxygen tank,” said the woman, who identified herself as the detective’s partner for the past four years. “He’s very sick with respiratory disease — he’s 73 years old, and he has 13 bullet holes in him.”

The arrest of Carl Gaimari’s wife surprised his relatives, who said they had all but given up hope of seeing anyone charged with his murder.

“After all these years, honestly, no, we didn’t think it would happen,” said his brother, Michael, 72.

His family had always had serious doubts about Greco and her new husband, he said, in part because she quickly ended all contact with Gaimari’s relatives.

“Nobody in the family ever communicated with her since the day it happened,” Gaimari said. “It was an ugly situation.

“For about a week police had the house cordoned off, and then the next week she was back in it, and called me up and asked me to come over and pick up all his belongings: socks, underclothes, shoes, ties, everything.

“I thought, ‘Wow, she’s getting rid of everything.’ And then the guy she’d been having an affair with moved in right away.”

Michael Gaimari said his brother’s wife had planned a birthday party for his brother that was scheduled for the week after his death.

“She sent out invites and everything.

“My mother right off the bat knew she was responsible. She used to send her letters all the time, saying stuff like, ‘I know you did this. You’ll pay for this some day.’ ”

His 96-year-old mother, Helen, suffers from health problems that have erased her memory of her son’s murder but until that happened “she’s carried all that grief every day of her life,” Gaimari said.

“My mom was very religious and prayed all her life that this would come to a resolution. So I visited her today and said, ‘Mom, your prayers have come true. And showed her some news clips. She’s 96 and lives in an assisted living home and suffers from dementia, but she teared up a little bit and said ‘Good. Good. I’m glad they got her.’ ”

The murder charge filed against Greco — who in 1990 divorced her second husband, then later remarried and again divorced — doesn’t end their efforts to solve Carl Gaimari’s murder, Cook County authorities said.

“The investigation is most definitely continuing. We’re continuing to seek information,” said Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Inverness police and the state’s attorney’s office in February 2012 quietly reopened their investigation of the slaying, but not because of new evidence.

Instead, investigators still had unanswered questions about whether Greco may have been involved, law enforcement sources said.

The renewed investigation turned up several alleged incriminating statements by Greco, including the purported claim that she and her boyfriend planned to kill Gaimari, prosecutors said in court.

In addition, Greco allegedly approached another acquaintance about a year before the murder and said she wanted to “get rid” of her husband, Holland said. She asked about obtaining drugs that could disguise a death as a fatal heart attack, Holland said.

Greco allegedly said she wanted her husband killed so she would inherit all of the couple’s financial assets, Holland said in court.

Contributing: Tim Novak and Mitch Dudek

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