In a highly-publicized case, jurors deliberated for just over two hours Friday before finding a 28-year old Palm Beach woman guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
The trial, which was covered heavily by the media, hinged on whether 28-year old Dalia Dippolito was serious when she supposedly hired a hitman to murder her husband. The "hitman" was actually an undercover Boynton Beach detective, and the solicitation was captured on video. Dippolito reportedly paid the hitman $1,200 to murder her husband.
At trial, the criminal defense attorney argued that the solicitation was actually part of a scheme to get a reality TV show. In fact, the defense contended that the alleged victim, Ms. Dippolito's husband, was in on the plot and was eagerly seeking fame.
Of the defense witnesses who testified, none of them supported the fact that the solicitation for murder was part of a reality TV plot.
In the end, the jury was not convinced of the merits of the "reality TV defense." While there is no burden of proof placed upon an accused person in a criminal trial, it is still tough to put on an assertive defense such as the one used in this case without putting on evidence.
Still, it was a very difficult case to defend against considering the accused was caught on videotape trying to hire a hitman to murder her husband.
Dippolito had been on house arrest until Friday, when she was taken into custody. She faces up to 30 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 16.
Given her age and lack of prior criminal record, I cannot see the judge sentencing her to the maximum. However, I would predict a sentence in the 15 - 20 year range.
Eric Matheny is a criminal attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call today to discuss your criminal matter.