Michael Colucci, the former owner of Colucci Jewelers, is in jail charged with the murder of his wife. Berkeley County Deputies found the body of Sara Lynn Colucci outside of a building in Summerville nearly a year ago. Her death was first thought to be a suicide. Now, her husband is charged with killing her. Sara’s family was persistent in asking for an investigation, and Thursday morning they faced Michael for the first time since he was arrested.

Sara’s father, James Moore, says, “The reason that I never asked Michael what happened to Sara was simple. I had concluded two years sooner the truth was not in him. There’s no need to ask someone that you were 99% sure is going to lie to you, and that’s when Michael has done.”

The judge denied bond Thursday morning. The murder charge carries a sentence of up to life in prison, 30 years, and/or death.

Sara’s friends are also saying they are not surprised with Michael’s arrest. News 2 spoke to Stephanie Merrell, who was friends with Sara for more than 20 years. They met in high school. Stephanie describes Sara as someone who was vibrant, headstrong, and loyal. She says Sara was loyal to a fault when it came to Michael Colucci.

Merrell says, “Sara was extremely loyal to Michael and it was like they could do no wrong.”

Stephanie says Michael had a short fuse and would snap at Sara quickly.

She says, “He could be very volatile and she didn’t back down from things. So their relationship got pretty heated a lot of times and yeah, it was a little bit scary sometimes.”

She says even before the two were married, there were red flags.

Merrell says, “I think that they developed a relationship that was very codependent and sort of, just, unhealthy.”

She says Sara changed once she and Michael got together and started to push people out of her life, including Stephanie.

Merrell says, “I felt like she wasn’t as into the friendship or anything outside of her relationship with her and Michael.”

Stephanie says she ran into Michael and Sara at a gas station three weeks before she died.

She says, “She kissed me on the cheek and that was that. And that was the last time I saw them.”

Stephanie says if she could go back, she probably couldn’t change anything.

She says, “It wouldn’t have mattered, probably, what I said, or what anyone said. In fact, I know other people have said things to her and she cut them out of their life, out of her life.”

The day Sara died, she was found hanging from the Colucci family warehouse doorway with a garden hose around her neck.

Merrell says, “She was very into presenting herself, presenting her daughter, presenting her home, everything was beautiful, everything was perfect. And I said, if she was going to do something like that, it wouldn’t be something that was in a dirty area in the way that it happened. There’s just no way.”

SLED is now saying that is was Michael Colucci who strangled Sara, and Stephanie says it is that much more disturbing because Sara has a young daughter.

Merrell says, “What I had heard was Michael Colucci had actually adopted her, which is very disappointing. Because not only did she lose both of her parents to unfortunate horrible deaths, but then her adoptive father is now accused of murdering her mother.”

Colucci will make his next court appearance on July 8th.