Surveillance footage and an eight-year-old boy’s tearful denial cast doubt on a Connecticut mother’s claim that he deliberately lit her six-year-old son’s face on fire with a tennis ball doused in gasoline.
Dominick Krankall suffered third-degree burns on his face and legs in April, after his family reported that his neighbor, Stefano Giacobbe, threw the gasoline-soaked ball in his face and ran away.
A surveillance video, released to the public after police found no evidence of any wrongdoing, showed that Dominick was amongst a group of boys who doused a soccer ball in gasoline, set it on fire, and kicked it around the fenced yard.
Dominick allegedly caught on fire by stepping on a plastic cup filled with gasoline. “Me and my brother and his brother told him not to step on it. He ran over and jumped on it and stomped on it and it exploded,” Stefano detailed.
Rather than the children “chucking” a tennis ball in Dominick’s face, and skittering away while they “watched him burn,” as his sister Deegan described at the time, Stefano’s older brother Lorenzo attempted to put out the flames engulfing the boy.
“Dominick was not left there to die,” the boys’ mother Laura Giacobbe said. “My 11-year-old son, Lorenzo, saved him, took his bare hands and took the fire out on his face.”
She explained how the family has been getting death threats from strangers and while the Krankall family was collecting donations for a new home. A GoFundMe page set up by Dominick’s sister raised nearly $600,000, which they used to purchase a home that closes next week.
“Everyone is saying me and my family are liars. This is Dominick’s story, this is what happened to him and I was not aware of what exactly happened until we got to the hospital,” his mother Maria Rua said of the claims.
“Dominick said a tennis ball was thrown at his face that was lit on fire by Stefano. No one can see that because it is the part of the video you don’t see and don’t see it happen because it is not in camera’s view,” she continued. “The video doesn’t show what is happening in that corner of the yard. The video doesn’t show the entire story.”
Laura Giacobbe thinks she knows everything she needs to know about the situation. “[Maria] needed a home to live in. She wanted to move into a home. She made that statement. She used my child to use him as a bully. We are very upset,’ she said.