Commisano was shot to death on his living room floor
Platte County woman who murdered her ex-husband over a decade ago was sentenced to life in prison without the eligibility of parole on Tuesday, May 26.
Letti K. Strait, 59, of Parkville, received the mandatory sentence after a Platte County jury convicted her of first degree murder in February.
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said, “Everything this family had to endure for 13 years in achieving justice has finally reached a sobering conclusion. The strength of Charles Cammisano’s four youngest children during this time is an amazing testament to Charlie’s love and devotion to them. As his daughter told the judge, the children had to cling to each other in order to survive the rocky waters where the defendant threw them when she executed their father.”
Charles Cammisano, who friends and family called “Charlie,” was found shot to death on his living room floor on Sept. 1, 2007. His house was locked and his body was covered with a blanket. Cammisano had been shot multiple times in the back and the back of his head.
During an eight-day trial, jurors heard from nearly 40 witnesses and viewed more than 300 pieces of evidence.
Prosecutors revealed during the trial that Cammisano and Strait had a tumultuous relationship before, during, and after their divorce.
Arguments between the two were common but increased in frequency and severity in the weeks and days leading up to Cammisano’s death. The tension between the ex-spouses came to a head weeks before Cammisano’s death when he was denied food stamps for his children and discovered that Strait had been fraudulently claiming the children as her dependents for years.
The night before his death, his youngest child overheard Strait whisper, “we have to kill him” moments before she drove the child from her home in Parkville to camp with a friend in Smithville.
Terry Strait, Letti Strait’s current husband, also testified during the trial. He testified that Letti Strait found Cammisano at a bar in the River Market, followed him to his house in Riverside and entered the home. Terry Strait then said he saw flashes of light coming from inside the house.
Letti Strait then left the house and drove Charlie’s Jeep to the location where police later found it in the River Market area. A forensic expert with the Kansas City Crime Laboratory testified that Letti Strait’s DNA was found on the steering wheel of that vehicle.
Terry Strait also testified that the couple had access to a .25 caliber handgun, the same caliber used in the murder. Terry Strait earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in the first degree and is awaiting sentencing.
During Letti Strait’s sentencing, prosecutors presented statements from four of Cammisano’s sisters. The court also heard a tearful and heart-wrenching statement from the eldest daughter of the victim and the defendant.
Zahnd said, “Words are not capable of adequately describing the vile nature of a woman who would murder the father of her four young children in cold blood simply to cover up her own food stamp fraud. As a result of this just sentence, she will take her last breath in prison.”
The case was investigated by the Riverside Police Department, members of the Kansas City Metro Squad, the Kansas City Police Department Crime Laboratory, and the Plate County Juvenile Office. The case was tried by First Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Mark L. Gibson and Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Miranda L. Loesch.
Loesch, a former assistant prosecuting attorney in Platte County, now serves as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Cole County, Missouri. Joe Vanover, former executive assistant prosecuting attorney, presented the case to the grand jury and helped prepare the case for trial prior to his departure from the office.