Kraig Constantino was originally charged with attempted murder for allegedly beating and stabbing a man he thought was hitting on his girlfriend, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony battery pursuant to a plea agreement this week. He was sentenced to time served and walked free from court.
Constantino is a felon with a long history of arrests who testified in December in the retrial of John Ditullio, who was accused of stabbing a woman and killing a teenager in 2006. Ditullio first went to trial in 2009, but the jury could not reach a verdict. A mistrial was declared and the case was rescheduled for trial in 2010.
Constantino did not testify at the first trial. In the second trial, he took the stand and told jurors that while he and Ditullio were housed together in the Pasco County Jail, Ditullio confessed to his crimes.
Ditullio, who maintained his innocence, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Ditullio’s defense attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, was not surprised to learn of Constantino’s plea agreement. He also believes that Constantino lied on the witness stand in order to get a plea offer from the State.
“Ditullio was there for almost five years and all of sudden this guy comes up with this?” Brunvand told local media. “No. He said what he had to say to get his deal with the state, and now he has his deal.”
Constantino’s victim, Richard Bernhardt, had several teeth knocked out and required stitches inside his mouth, according to court documents.
Constantino was sentenced to the 1,002 days he previously spent in jail. “Thank you, your honor,” he told the judge. “It’s been a pleasure.”