Last December, a Pasco County jury failed to reach a verdict in the murder trial of John Ditullio, Jr. Ditullio and his criminal defense attorneys from the Law Offices of Bjorn Bruvand will return to court on September 27th for a second trial on charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Ditullio faces the death penalty if found guilty of first-degree murder.
Today, a judge ruled again that Ditullio can once again hire a makeup artist at the state’s expense to cover several tattoos including his swastika tattoo during trial.
As at the first trial, the defense team will be allowed to pay $125 a day for the makeup artist to cover the tattoos. The retrial could last up to three weeks. Brunvand argued that covering the tattoos was necessary to ensure Ditullio receives a fair trial. The tattoos are considered so inflammatory they could prejudice jurors against Ditullio.
If Ditullio were convicted without having the tattoos covered, an appellate court could overturn the verdict and send the case back for a third retrial. The first jury deliberated for almost 10 hours. The final vote count was 10-2 in favor of a not guilty verdict.
Prosecutors say Ditullio was a member of the American Nazis, a group that gathered at a compound on Teak Street in the Griffin Park area of New Port Richey. He is accused of the 2006 killing of Kristopher King and assault on Patricia Wells. Wells lived next door to the compound, and King was a friend of her son.
At the first trial, prosecutors said the attacks occurred because the neo-Nazis had seen Wells associating with a black man and because King was gay.
Ditullio denies responsibility for the attack. His defense team argued that he doesn’t match a witness’s description of the attacker and presented evidence that another member of the neo-Nazi group confessed to the crimes.
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