A Pasco County jury deliberated for about 30 minutes yesterday before recommending that John Ditullio Jr. be sentenced to life in a Florida prison. Ditullio had faced the death penalty for the murder of Kristofer King in 2006.
The eight-day retrial ended Wednesday when the jury returned guilty verdicts for first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder. The case was first tried last year and ended in a hung jury when the jurors could not reach a unanimous decision.
There were several differences between the first and second trials including the State’s use of witness Kraig Constantino, a felon who befriended Ditullio in jail. Constantino testified that Ditullio confessed the crimes to him in jail. Constantino came forward just this September and was released from jail on his own recognizance as a result of his agreement to testify. According to the State, the release was for Constantino’s safety.
At Thursday’s sentencing phase of the trial, Ditullio did not wear makeup to cover several face and neck tattoos, as he had done throughout both trials.
After the jury returned with their recommendation of life in prison, the judge accepted the sentence, adding a concurrent 15 years behind bars for the attempted murder charge.
Ditullio’s grandmother and sister both testified on his behalf in the sentencing phase of trial. Two African-American men who are currently incarcerated also testified on Ditullio’s behalf. They testified that Ditullio was their friend while in the Land O’Lakes Jail, despite Ditullio’s association with a neo-Nazi group before his arrest.
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