Lynn Giovanni had written a book, "Judicial System Loopholes," last year that slammed the court's treatment of domestic violence. Giovanni used the nom de plume "Faith Hope."
A suicidal mom, despondent over her divorce and struggling with her teenage daughter, beat the 14-year-old to death with a hammer and shovel before she tried to kill herself on a New Jersey highway, police said yesterday.
Cops found a disoriented Lynn Giovanni, 45, Sunday afternoon near a highway exit in Berkeley Heights, where she had crashed her car into a guardrail in an apparent suicide attempt.
There, according to prosecutors, she told state troopers about her horrible crime: How she bashed in her daughter's head while the teenager slept and took off in her car to end her own life.
Troopers called police in Roselle Park, where Giovanni lives with her mother and daughter. Moments later, cops found the bloody body of Nicole Giovanni.
"It was absolutely premeditated," said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. "This young girl's life was taken without any purpose. It is inexplicable why any parent would ever take the life of a child.
"We mourn her loss, and we will prosecute her mother," he said.
Romankow said Nicole, a well-liked freshman at Roselle Catholic HS, was sleeping at about 9:30 a.m. Sunday when her mother came into her room and struck her several times in the head with a hammer and then once with a shovel. Lynn Giovanni fled in a 2000 Honda Civic and was discovered eight hours later, after she crashed her car on Route 78 nearby.
Romankow said no argument immediately preceded the attack.
Giovanni's mother, Angela Gravina, was not home at the time of the murder, Romankow said.
Gravina was out of town and could not be reached for comment.
Giovanni, who suffered minor injuries in the crash, was taken to Overlook Hospital in Summit before she was transferred to the Trenton Psychiatric Institute, where she was being held on $250,000 bail and charged with murder.
Friends said Giovanni suffered from depression - and had difficulty dealing with a string of misfortunes, including a recent divorce, job difficulties and trouble with Nicole.
"She suffered every day of her life," said a friend named Chris. "She was on a lot of medication, and I wondered if that had anything to do with this."
NY Post February 8, 2005