Local News

Man pleads guilty to theater manager's shooting death

Posted July 8, 2009 10:21 a.m. EDT
Updated July 9, 2009 12:12 p.m. EDT

— A Wake Forest man accused of fatally shooting a movie theater manager last October will spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder.

Raleigh police said Anthony Joseph Bimbo shot Mark Douglas Buhaug, 48, during a robbery at Marquee Cinemas, off Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, on Oct. 24. Buhaug died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Bimbo fled the scene, and the next day, broke into a home, robbed a family at gunpoint and stole a minivan, authorities have said. New Jersey state troopers arrested him three days later at a rest stop north of Trenton, N.J.

During his plea Wednesday, he declined to make a statement and only mouthed to his mother, "I love you," as he left the courtroom.

Joane Russo said afterward that her son told her the shooting was an accident.

"He said that he went to put the gun down on the counter, and he says that the man said that he couldn't give him money," Russo said. "Tony said he wanted just to show him that he meant business, or something like that, but that the gun just went off."

Two other men – Jason Anthony Zilinski and Ryan Michael Becker – also face murder charges in the case. Zilinski worked at the theater and lived with Bimbo, whom neighbors said was his stepfather.

Court dates for them have not been scheduled.

Buhaug, a 25-year veteran of the theater, had managed the Marquee since August 2005, Originally from Dilworth, Minn., he had lived in Raleigh for about 10 years.