Who is Tina Martirano? Woman sues hotel for $50M for ignoring Paul Kutz killer's erratic behavior
Tina Martirano claimed that the hotel staff did not offer guests 'reasonably adequate' security
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LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK: The murder of Paul Kutz at a Poughkeepsie Marriott last month was witnessed by Long Island woman Tina Martirano, who is now suing the hotel for $50 million while revealing shocking new details about the crime. Martirano alleged in a complaint that she had been enjoying her morning coffee with Kutz, 53, before he was killed on October 2. The two had met when she went to the hotel gym with his wife. Kutz was visiting his son at Marist College and had stayed at the hotel when the incident took place.
Martirano, a Marist parent who was also present for the school's Family Weekend, claimed hotel staff laughed at the alleged killer's abnormal behavior and then neglected guests just before the suspect opened fire, according to the lawsuit. The court filing claims Martirano experienced "extreme emotional distress" as a result of the encounter, and it read, "During [her and Kutz’s] conversation, Tina noticed a commotion in the lobby. Defendant [Roy] Johnson suddenly emerged from the corridor leading to the first-floor rooms with both hands deep into his pockets, wearing only underpants under his trench coat, a ski mask and was shouting profanities."
Martirano claimed that Johnson "then proceeded to roam around the lobby, interacting with Marriott personnel, all of whom appeared to know him and laugh off the visibly erratic behavior." The lawsuit said, "Unlike Marriott personnel, Tina and Paul were alarmed by Defendant Johnson's behavior, and Tina motioned to several Marriott personnel to stop laughing at Johnson."
The lawsuit read, "Moments later, Defendant Johnson pulled out a gun and began waving it in the air while shouting furiously. Thereafter, everyone in the lobby, including Marriott personnel, fled for safety, leaving Tina and Paul behind."
Martirano claimed that as Johnson, 35, approached the two waving his gun, she and Kutz were "trapped" between the exit doors and where they were sitting. The lawsuit read, "Tina feared that if Paul made verbal contact with Defendant Johnson he would start firing, so she told Paul to avoid eye contact."
"Defendant Johnson then raised his arm, brandished the gun, and before Paul could even attempt to calm him down, Johnson opened fire on Paul," the lawsuit read and claimed that Martirano saw Kutz die after falling from his chair.
Kutz, a married father of three from East Northport, Long Island, worked as an accountant. He was wearing a t-shirt from Marist College when he was killed. Authorities have only stated that Johnson fired shots after arguing with hotel workers. Since then, authorities have filed charges against both Johnson and Devin Taylor, his suspected partner who is accused by police of stealing the pistol.
Martirano claimed in her lawsuit that the whole ordeal caused her "disabling" psychological harm. The lawsuit read, "She is unable to cope, function as a member of society, or return to her place of employment." She claimed that the defendants did not offer guests "reasonably adequate" security.
The hotel is named in the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday, November 15, along with the property owners, the local management firm, and the two shooters. Johnson and Taylor both pleaded not guilty at their court appearances in October 2022.