Officer: Oakland County husband used bat to kill wife

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Clarkston — A 32-year-old Independence Township construction worker told detectives that while his wife put their 2-year-old daughter to bed Thursday night, he went to the basement to get a baseball bat he used to kill her and their dog, a police officer said Monday.

Joseph. G. Mauti

Oakland County Detective Sgt. David Hendrick told 52-2 District Judge Kelley Kostin on Monday that on 5:30 p.m. the next day deputies acting on a welfare complaint at the Mauti home in the Cheshire Park subdivision found the house locked but saw a child wandering around inside and could hear a man's voice.

At the sight of blood spatters, deputies forced their way in and found Lindsey Mauti, 30, deceased on the garage floor. An autopsy determined she died from multiple blunt force blows.

Also inside the home but unharmed were her daughter; a 6-year-old son, and husband Joseph G. Mauti, who is now charged with first-degree premeditated murder in his spouse's death and animal cruelty in the killing of the family's dog, a Shih Tzu.

"Joseph Mauti confessed the night before while his wife was putting their daughter to bed he retrieved a baseball bat from the basement and hit her multiple times," Hendrick told Kostin, during a swear-to for charges in the case.

A motive was not discussed Monday. Outside the courtroom, Hendrick declined to elaborate about what may have prompted Mauti to attack his wife.

Co-workers at Clarkston schools, where Mauti worked as a teacher's aide, became concerned Friday when she did not report for work or call in to say she would not be in or respond to texts, investigators said. Her car was found parked in the driveway.

The children have since been turned over to grandparents, investigators said.

The couple have lived at the address for nearly five years. Mauti is on parole for a 2014 domestic violence conviction and past problems with alcohol and marijuana abuse, although he told authorities he had not abused either substance for more than 18 months.

Several relatives and friends attended Mauti's video arraignment Monday. One, Natalie Sutton of Waterford Township, said she was "shocked" that her cousin was being charged with murder.

"I know him as a passive and kind person," Sutton said outside the courtroom. "We were close — he always said I should be his sister.

"There were 80 of us at their home just a week ago to celebrate (a birthday party)," Sutton said. "Everything seemed OK. There were games and presents. And two birthday cakes.

"I can't explain any of this," she said, shaking her head.

Lindsey Mauti

During Monday's video arraignment from the Oakland County Jail, Mauti appeared alert, composed and told Kostin he understood the charges against him. He answered questions with "yes" and "no" responses, but when asked, said he needed an attorney "unless one has already been appointed for me."

"I have no means to hire an attorney," he explained.

Kostin denied bond in the case and set a probable cause hearing on the charges for June 10. A first-degree murder conviction carries a penalty of life in prison without parole. The animal cruelty charge is punishable by four years in prison.

Mauti was on probation for an April 2014 domestic violence conviction in which he assaulted his wife. Court records did not reveal specifics of that earlier incident but conditions of his 18-month reporting probation period which began June 18, 2014, included paying nearly $1,500 in court fines and costs; no use or possession of alcohol or drugs; outpatient treatment for substance abuse, mental health and life adjustment; attending a domestic violence program; no weapons permitted in the home; and no assaultive behavior toward his wife.

Funeral arrangements for Lindsey Mauti are being handled by the Wint & Son Funeral Home on Main Street in Clarkston, where visitation will take place from 3-8 p.m. Tuesday. Services will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at First Congregational Church of Clarkston on Clarkston Road. A GoFundMe page for her funeral expenses has raised more than $12,000 as of Monday afternoon.

According to the funeral home, Mauti is survived by a son, Carson, and daughter, Amelia; parents, Denise Eaton and John Eaton; brother, Justin Eaton; and grandmother, Cleo Eaton.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

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