Crime & Courts

Autopsy results released for wife of Lexington doctor accused of manslaughter

Lexington doctor’s wife’s death ‘suspicious’

Cayce Public Safety director Byron Snellgrove says the cases against Adam Lazzarani are related.
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Cayce Public Safety director Byron Snellgrove says the cases against Adam Lazzarani are related.

The Lexington County coroner says an autopsy could not determine a cause of death for Vanessa Biery, the wife of a Lexington doctor who is accused of killing a man in his home only months before his wife was also found dead in the home.

“In the opinion of the pathologist, Biery died of an undetermined cause,” Coroner Margaret Fisher said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

Biery was found dead on May 1, 2018, and the autopsy was conducted two days later by the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at MUSC in Charleston, according to the statement.

An autopsy and toxicology testing “did not reveal any findings of such significance that they could have definitely caused Biery’s death,” Fisher said.

Cayce police say they continue to investigate Biery’s death.

Biery was married to former Lexington Medical Center surgeon Adam Lazzarini. In October 2017, authorities found medical equipment salesman William Player Holland shot in the Lazzarinis’ bedroom.

Seven months later, on May 1, paramedics were called to Lazzarini’s home, where they found his wife unresponsive. Cayce Public Safety Department Director Byron Snellgrove said her death was suspicious.

While investigating Biery’s death, investigators said they uncovered evidence that Lazzarini had lied about the Holland case and that the two deaths in the home were related.

Police said Lazzarini was under the influence of alcohol when he pointed a handgun at Holland’s chest and fired, according to warrants. He later lied to police investigators, the warrants said. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and obstruction of justice in Holland’s death.

“The main thing to take away from this is the fact that there’s no responsibility attributed to Doctor Lazzarini,” said Jack Swerling, Lazzarini’s attorney. “They found nothing that would connect him to her death at all.”

An independent autopsy conducted in May 2018 called for by Lazzarini’s lawyers concluded that acute cardiac dysrhythmia was the cause of Biery’s death. Those results were not official, however.

The independent autopsy also showed other medical issues such as mild heart disease and an enlarged liver, Swerling said. Her cause of death was natural, the independent autopsy asserted.

“One of the things this also dispels is that there’s actually no connection between her death and the charges he has against (Holland) even though that may have been suggested at some point in the past,” Swerling said.

Still, the investigation into Lazzarini’s case continues, Snellgrove said.

“That case is still open and we’re following up on leads,” he said. “If any of the leads that we are following give us probable cause to make a charge then we will make that charge.”

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David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.