CASSIE Carli's sister has hit out at her slain sibling's ex-boyfriend for smirking in his mugshot after he was booked on evidence tampering and obstruction charges in connection to her disappearance.
Marcus Spanevelo, 37, has been in custody since April 2. He was arrested in Lebanon, Tennessee, hours before Cassie's body was found buried in a shallow grave in Springville, Alabama.
Cassie was last seen alive 300 miles away in Navarre Beach, Florida, on March 27, when she met with Spanevelo in the parking lot of a restaurant to exchange custody of their three-year-old daughter but never returned home.
Spanevelo admitted to having an "altercation" with Cassie during the meet-up but denied harming her, police documents show. He also allegedly admitted to throwing her phone out the window of his truck.
He is currently facing charges of evidence tampering, destruction of evidence, and supplying false information about a missing person in relation to Cassie's disappearance. He pleaded not guilty to those charges in court on Tuesday.
Spanevelo has not yet been charged in relation to Cassie's death. However, police say they expect to file additional charges against him once an autopsy on Cassie's remains is completed.
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Raeanne Carli, Cassie's younger sister, said she was left furious when she saw Spanevelo appearing to grin in his mugshot, which was released by authorities last week.
"But that's Marcus," she told The US Sun. "Narcissists love any attention, good or bad.
"I don't know whether he's smirking because he knows America is watching or because he thinks he's going to get away with it," she added, "but that smirk is going to get wiped off his face real fast with all the evidence police have against him."
'HE WAS FRAMED'
For family members of Marcus Spanevelo, there is no doubt in their minds that the 37-year-old "doting" father is innocent.
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His aunt, Neiva Halauza, even went as far as to claim that she believes her nephew has been framed in a phone interview with The US Sun.
"Marcus is a great man, decent man, a working man," Halauza said. "He never steal from nobody and he don't touch nobody.
"He has pleaded not guilty because he didn't do it. I think Marcus was framed, 100%."
Insisting her nephew would "never hurt a fly", Halauza then made a series of wild and unfounded accusations about Cassie's family, calling them "no good" and insisting they were involved with "drugs" and "dangerous people."
"The relationship [between Spanevelo and Cassie] was no good," she said. "He just wanted the daughter to be safe, but she did a lot of drugs, would hang out in bars, and spend time with lots of other men.
"Someone set it all up and blamed it on him," Halauza added. "Why did the sheriff arrest Marcus? Why doesn't he investigate her family."
A 'SINISTER PERSON'
When asked about Halauza's claims Raeanne simply laughed.
While admitting she and other family members have struggled with substance addiction in the past, those battles took place more than a decade ago and she is now 12 years sober.
"I struggled with addiction when I was younger," Raeanne said. "When I was 18 I actually ended up being incarcerated for a short period of time. But after that I turned my life around."
In an earlier interview with The US Sun, Raeanne said she felt as though Spanevelo judged her for her past struggles – which happened long before they met – and refused to get to know her because of it.
She also claimed Spanevelo attempted to poison Cassie against her family, telling her "they're all messed up" and she should distance herself from them.
Though Cassie never fell for the alleged tricks, Raeanne said it appears Halauza has been "fooled" by Spanevelo into believing they're a no-good family, and that he can do no wrong.
"Once again, he's a narcissist," she claimed. "He's probably got this poor woman thinking he is a good boy and he is a hard-working man but there's this whole other side of him she must not know, because my sister experienced that side and he's not a good boy.
"I feel bad for her I honestly do. Because he's got her fooled and she has no idea of the sinister person he really is."
COPS SHARE NEW DETAILS
Court documents released last week revealed that Spanevelo admitted to having Cassie's phone on March 28, the day after she vanished, but he threw it out the window of his truck.
When asked why he did not keep it to return it to her later, he said he did not care about her property so he chose to throw it out, according to the affidavit.
Investigators first interviewed Spanevelo on March 29. He told officers there had been an "altercation" between him and Cassie, though he refused to elaborate.
He claimed she had become "hyper" but he agreed to drive them to an unspecified location because it was en route to where he was heading.
Spanevelo claimed Cassie "jumped out" and "he drove away and left" her, before returning to his home in Panama City Beach, Florida.
However, investigators say they were able to recover surveillance footage that contradicts his claims.
In text messages sent to Cassie's family, Spanevelo claimed that she asked him to drop her off "in the middle of nowhere in Destin" but again police said the account couldn't be corroborated, WEAR-TV reports.
NOT GUILTY PLEA
Spanevelo pleaded not guilty to all charges in a court appearance in Santa Rosa County on Tuesday.
An attorney representing the suspect demanded a jury trial and waived his appearance for next week's arraignment.
While disappointed, Raeanne said she was "honestly not shocked" by Spanevelo's claims of innocence.
"We don't expect him to give us many answers willingly or come forth with any information. We expected this for him to be tight, sealed and tight-lipped and quiet," she said.
"And he's never been cooperative in the past during any type of custody hearings or anything else. So my whole family and I are not shocked at all that he's not still continuing to not cooperate."
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Raeanne added: " When this first happened. I just said, 'that's him.'
"He is stupid enough to think he's smart enough to do something like this and get away with it. He really does."
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