Arthur ‘Artie’ Cunn is a former bomb expert and the subject of a new Washington Post report by Mary Jordan that questions his connection to the 1986 murder of Defense Department employee Margaret “Muffie” Yeatman.
Yeatman, 46, was fatally shot in the summer of 1986. Her body was found in the trunk of her car in a parking garage near Johns Hopkins Hospital, per an archived article of Baltimore’s The Evening Sun.
An original writeup of the murder in 1986 (also written by Jordan) mentioned the affair that Yeatman and Cunn were believed to be having, according to the police affidavit at the time. The same week that Cunn’s wife moved to Washington, D.C. to be with him, someone shot and killed Yeatman with a single bullet from a .22 caliber gun.
Cunn’s wife was Julia “Angie” Brigandi, a niece of one of the most violent mob bosses in the country, Rusty Rastelli. No one was ever charged in connection to the 1986 murder.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Cunn Worked as a Bomb Expert at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms When He Began Seeing Yeatman
According to the Washington Post, Cunn was a young star at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms when he first met Yeatman. She and Cunn met while Yeatman was working at ATF, and they began a tumultuous five-year relationship.
Cunn began his career as a police officer in Long Island, but soon stood out within his specialty of defusing explosives. He became well-known after a 1970 incident in Long Island in which he was photographed with the governor holding a “bomb blanket,” which he was credited with inventing.
Cunn worked as an agent for ATF in a variety of roles throughout his relationship to Yeatman. But Jordan reports that after Yeatman’s murder, Cunn moved back to New York with his wife and became a carpenter.
2. Cunn Was Married With Three Children When He Began His Alleged Affair With Yeatman
Cunn was married with three children when he began his affair with Yeatman. He would divorce his wife (in 1985), over the grounds of the “one-year” separation that preceded it, according to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The above screenshot is from Ancestry.com, confirming that the two remarried in 1986, approximately 20 days prior to Yeatman’s murder.
To this day, Cunn is married to Angie Julia Brigandi Cunn, who often posts pictures of her husband on Facebook. Their children are Debi, Kathy, and Arthur, according to an obituary from Legacy.
3. Yeatman Was Murdered in June of 1986; Her Body Was Found in the Trunk of Her Car a Day After Cunn’s Wife Moved to D.C.
Yeatman’s body was found in the trunk of her car one day after Cunn’s wife drove to Virginia to be with him. Cunn and his wife had just remarried a month prior, in Vegas. She was last seen alive at an aerobics class on June 23, according to an archived article from The Evening Sun.
According to Jordan, Yeatman had told family and friends that she thought she and Cunn were the ones who were going to get married. Rose Marie Brashear, Yeatman’s sister, said to Jacob, “When we flew out for her funeral, I said to my husband, ‘I thought I would be packing to go to her wedding.’ She thought she was the one marrying Artie.”
According to the medical examiner, Yeatman was likely shot in the back of the head five days prior to the discovery of her body, which would have placed her murder on June 24. Blood and skin fragments were found underneath her fingernails, indicating a struggle, but lab tests couldn’t confirm the blood type with specificity. What’s more, the bullet in her brain was so shattered that experts weren’t able to connect it to a specific gun.
The Evening Sun reported that her body was only found after a security guard patrolling a parking lot near Hopkins Hospital noted a “foul odor” coming from the trunk of her car.
4. Cunn Was Never Charged in Connection to Yeatman’s Murder
According to an archived article from The Evening Sun, homicide detectives quickly ruled out the possibility of Yeatman’s death being connected with her job, and further confirmed that she did not have access to the type of “classified” information that might warrant that suspicion.
Cunn was 52 years old at the time of Yeatman’s murder. In her exposé, Jordan notes these pieces of evidence: he owned a .22 caliber gun, he had scratches and a soft cast on his arm the day Yeatman was reported missing, and a pair of Yeatman’s eyeglasses found under Yeatman’s body were the same pair as the ones that Cunn wore.
Cunn was never charged in connection to Yeatman’s murder. In fact, no one was. No detective ever called Yeatman’s sister or her friend, Linda Tague, who has done her own detective work in recent years. Tague was the one who realized that Cunn’s wife was the niece of Rastelli.
Specifically, Cunn’s wife was the daughter of Antoinette Brigandi, whose brother was Phillip “Rusty” Rastelli. So Cunn was related to Rastelli indirectly via marriage.
When Jordan tracked Cunn down earlier this year, he insisted again that he got “accused of something I had no reason to do,” and that the murder had “destroyed half my life.” Cunn said, “If you checked her history, [Yeatman] had a very promiscuous life. . . . That would be your answer.”
5. Rusty Rastelli, the Patriarch of the Bonanno Family, Died in 1991
Rusty Rastelli was a mafia boss of the Bonanno crime family, one of New York City’s five major mafia groups, who died in 1991. According to The Associated Press, he was known just as much for the death of his wife, Connie, in 1962, as he was for his own dealings in the mob. Connie was murdered after telling federal agents that Rastelli was a drug trafficker.
Rastelli spent approximately half of his life in prison. The Associated Press reports that his power (and the overall solidity of the Bonanno family on the mafia scene) diminished significantly through the late 1970s and 1980s.
In 2007, court testimony during the trial of an FBI agent revealed that the heads of the five Mafia families, including Rastelli, had sat down in 1986 to debate whether or not to “whack” Rudy Giuliani.
Per The New York Daily News, Rastelli was one of the three Mafia men who voted against killing Giuliani, who was then a federal prosecutor known for going after the mob.