Charleston-area jeweler Michael Colucci will again face a jury charged with determining whether or not he killed his wife, Sara Lynn Colucci, outside their gold-buying business in Summerville, SC, on May 20, 2015. Colucci, who is represented by Andy Savage, maintains that Sara committed suicide. Prosecutors say Colucci strangled his wife and allege he staged the scene to look like a suicide. 

Colucci’s retrial was scheduled for May 13, 2024. The Attorney General’s Office said that the Sara Lynn Colucci retrial will be postponed due to the expected length of the trial.

According to the AG’s Office, the judge and staff are not available the second week. They are looking for a term in June but nothing is set yet.

Here are 15 things to know before jury selection in the retrial begins in Berkeley County. 

1. Colucci is a well-known name in South Carolina’s Lowcountry 

The patriarch of the family, Ivo Colucci, was an Italian immigrant who made his money by designing and creating jewelry. Michael Colucci is Ivo’s stepson, and he legally changed his name from Michael Antonio to Michael Colucci when he turned 18 despite the fact that Ivo did not adopt Michael. You can hear more about the Colucci family dynamics from Ivo’s daughter and Michael’s stepsister, Kim Colucci Lizzi, in True Sunlight Podcast Episode 48.

2. Michael Colucci’s first trial ended in a hung jury 

The murder case against Michael Colucci first went to trial in late November 2018, more than three years after Sara’s death. The trial, which was prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s office, lasted two weeks before Judge Deadra Jefferson declared a mistrial because the jury could not reach a unanimous decision. 

3. The main players haven’t changed much since the first trial

Ninth Circuit Court Judge Deadra Jefferson oversaw the first trial and will again assume the bench for the second Colucci trial as defense attorney Andy Savage again argues that his client’s wife killed herself. Megan Burchstead and Joel Kozak of the South Carolina Attorney General’s office prosecuted the first trial. For the second trial, Kozak will be joined by fellow SCAG solicitor Kinlee Abee. Burchstead left the AG’s office and worked for a time at lawyer-legislator Todd Rutherford’s office before taking a position in the Chester County Public Defender’s office. 

4. You will recognize some of the names

Our True Sunlight and OG Murdaugh Murders podcast fans will recognize some of the names swirling in the Colucci case. Defense attorney Andy Savage represented Stephen Smith’s mother, Sandy, for a time in 2021. She parted ways with him after he spoke on her behalf on television without consulting her first. South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Special Agent David Owen was the lead investigator in the Colucci case. Owen was also the lead investigator into the deaths of Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh and testified extensively during the 2023 Murdaugh trial.

5. The Colucci case bears some striking similarities to the Murdaugh case 

Like in Murdaugh, SLED handled the investigation and the state attorney general’s office is handling prosecution of the Colucci case because the name was too well-known in Berkeley County and the local solicitor’s office had to recuse itself. The other similarities? It took a full year to arrest Michael and charge him with Sara’s murder. The Colucci case also has a strange 911 call, first responders who testified that the scene didn’t look quite right, a powerful family, allegations of drug abuse and the enabling of alleged bad behavior. 

6. Michael Colucci is on house arrest, but the AG’s office doesn’t appear to know where at

Following his May 2016 arrest, Colucci made bond and was placed on house arrest at Ivo and Doris’s Summerville, South Carolina home. In 2017, the state made a motion to revoke his bond and accused Colucci of violating the terms of his house arrest. Instead, the judge amended some of the restrictions and changed the address for his house arrest to  the Colucci family’s Edisto beach home. While the family sold the beach home in 2018 well before the first trial, that address is the one currently on file as Colucci’s house arrest address. 

7. Michael Colucci has been evicted from at least two homes

When Sara Lynn died, she and Michael shared a home in Monck’s Corner that was in her mother’s name. After Michael was arrested, he was evicted from the home and Sara Lynn’s mother, Barbara Moore, filed a police report accusing him of doing more than $35,000 in damage to the home before he left. Among the allegations are claims that he stole the refrigerator, security cameras, light fixtures and curtains. His other reported evictions include his mother and stepfather’s home in Summerville and the Colucci family beach house in Edisto. 

8. Sara Lynn and Michael were dealing with financial struggles in the months before her death

Text messages from Sara to Michael reference financial hardship as Sara told him that their home was in pre foreclosure status. On another night, Sara and Michael texted about how he was out making “greenbacks.” According to reports, Michael was also sued twice for not making payments on two properties while he was still married to his first wife, Camilla. 

9. Police reports filed by customers allege Michael was mishandling the jewelry business before and after Sara Lynn’s death

Through the Freedom of Information Act, Luna Shark obtained multiple police reports in which people reported that Michael had pawned their jewelry, wrote a bad check, and refused to return diamonds to them. Seven months prior to Sara Lynn’s death, Michael himself reported that a $33,000 ring had been stolen from his store. 

10. Sara Lynn and Michael were not each other’s first spouse

Sara Lynn’s second husband, Michael Vieira died in 2007 at the age of 32. She and Michael Vieira had a daughter named Bishop. Michael Colucci and his first wife, Camilla, divorced in 2010 and had a daughter named Milan. Colucci legally adopted Bishop after he and Sarah Lynn married. 

11. Michael Colucci initially gave the wrong address when he called 911 

Michael Colucci called 911 at 7:13 p.m. on May 15, 2015, and told the dispatcher he needed help at 2209 N. Main Street in Summerville. The Gold Standard, where Sara Lynn died, is actually at 2206 N. Main Street, a detail that Michael did not correct until the dispatcher informed him 2209 wasn’t the right address. 

12. First responders testified the scene of Sara Lynn’s death didn’t match the story 

The emergency personnel dispatched to the Gold Standard after Michael called 911 testified in court that they found Sara Lynn lying on her side against a concrete block wall with abrasions on her knees and one high-heeled shoe partially off of her foot. Her body was already beginning to become discolored and liver mortis was setting in, meaning she had died earlier than the moment when Michael called for help. 

13. Michael had a busted lip and injuries consistent with a physical altercation

Colucci told police he had busted his lip while performing CPR on Sara, which is unlikely considering she was found on her side, not on her back, when authorities arrived. Michael also had scratches on his arms and wrists and abrasions on one knuckle. 

14. Andy Savage pulled some outlandish courtroom stunts

In order to defend his client, Andy Savage got creative with illustrating his points during the first trial. Savage, who wanted to prove that a hose could be used in a suicide by hanging, choked himself with a section of hose that was in evidence. At another point, he asked one of his employees to give her body measurements on the record to try and prove that Sara Lynn could have squeezed between the chain link fence and the block wall before falling into the hose. In a further attempt to convince the jury it was possible, Savage had his wife/coworker, Cheryl, purchase an identical dress to the one Sara Lynn was wearing the day she died. Then, he made a video of her shimmying between the fence and wall at the scene of Sara Lynn’s death as he insisted Sara Lynn must have done before falling into the hose.

15. Michael’s defense team buried the court in paperwork 

Court cases — especially murder cases — quickly rack up hundreds of pages of information, motions, and orders filed with the clerk of court, but prior to the first trial, Andy Savage filed extensive motions asking the court to bar references to his quality as a defense attorney and the suffering of Sara Lynn’s family. He also wanted to bar the use of the term “medical examiner” and prevent there from being any victim impact evidence.

The retrial of Michael Colucci is slated to begin on May 13 in Berkeley County. Soak up the Sun Premium members will have access to a live stream and chat with the team each day during the trial. Premium members also have access to court documents, police reports, and other information we’ve recovered through FOIA requests. 

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Contact Beth Braden

Beth Braden

Beth Braden is an award-winning journalist with experience covering government, education and crime and courts for more than 10 years. In addition to following breaking news and writing feature stories about life in her home state of Tennessee, her by-line appears on several internationally known websites.

Beth is passionate about communicating complex information in an easy-to-understand manner and she loves to pore over public records and court documents as she seeks out patterns and context to share with her audience. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, strange museums, and good cups of coffee.

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