When Maurizio Gucci was gunned down in broad daylight two years ago in Milan, the shooting had all the elements of a gangster plot. A sharply dressed assassin. Two shots to the back of the head. In the background, bitter family rivalries and untold millions at stake. But yesterday, the fall of the house of Gucci took a turn toward daytime drama, when his ex-wife was arrested on charges of orchestrating his death with the help of a psychic, a willing doorman and two ex-cons. Patrizia Reggiani Martinelli, 46, had publicly complained about her ex-husband’s alimony payments. She once told television interviewers their 1984 divorce settlement left her children “without a future.
” With her designer sunglasses slipped fashionably down her nose, Martinelli was unusually silent as police hustled her from her apartment in Milan yesterday not far from where an assassin she allegedly hired pumped four shots into Gucci on March 27, 1995. Martinelli is accused of paying $310,000 for the killing of her ex-husband, who cashed in the last of his Gucci company holdings in 1993 for a reported $100 million to $140 million. Police initially thought the killing was a professional hit. And they spent two years examining Gucci’s enemies including his relatives, with whom he’d been in a bitter feud, and Mafia members, who reportedly were unhappy with Gucci’s casino gambling project in Switzerland. Yesterday, however, Italian police said their sleuthing combined with the confession of doorman Ivano Savioni led to the arrest of Martinelli, the doorman and two others. Savioni told police that Martinelli’s personal psychic, Giuseppina Auriemma, 51, had approached him about hiring the hit men. Martinelli is said to have confided in Auriemma, a high-society soothsayer who once owned a Gucci franchise herself. Maurizio Gucci, 46, was the grandson of Guccio Gucci, who founded a Florentine saddle shop in 1906 that grew into a fashion empire. For more than eight decades, the upscale leather company was run exclusively by family members, until bitter infighting between cousins drove it into financial ruin. Gucci the last family member to run the company had lived with his girlfriend, Paola Franchi, in St. Moritz, Switzerland, after his divorce from Martinelli. After he died, Franchi and Martinelli engaged in public spats, accusing each other of stealing the businessman’s belongings. Martinelli referred to by family members as “the Joan Collins of the situation” also showed little remorse. “Who cares?
” she quipped in a Vanity Fair interview four months after Gucci’s death. Police said the killing was carried out by two ex-convicts Orazio Cicala, 58, who is in jail on drug charges, and Benedetto Ceraulo, 35.