You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Prosecutor: Greedy newlywed tried to hire hit man

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/16/2017 By TERRY SPENCER, Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Dalia Dippolito is a manipulative liar who used sex to bend men to her will and wanted to hire a hit man to kill her newlywed husband because she wanted to get possession of their house and his money, a prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments in the former escort's attempted solicitation of murder trial Friday.

Assistant State Attorney Laura Laurie told the Palm Beach County, Florida, jury that Dippolito turned to the hit man after she failed to get convicted conman Michael Dippolito sent back to prison for violating his probation by planting drugs on him, and failed to steal their house. The case gained national attention when a video of her appearing to break down sobbing after being falsely told by detectives that her husband had been slain went viral on the internet and video of her alleged solicitation of a detective posing as a hit man was featured on the television show "Cops."

"You will find no question that that woman lied and manipulated for her own gain," Laurie told the three-woman, three-man jury, pointing to Dippolito. "She couldn't stand her husband, so just kill him."

Defense attorney Brian Claypool is expected to argue later Friday that detectives set up his 34-year-old client because they wanted to become famous on "Cops."

This is Dippolito's third trial since her August 2009 arrest. A 2011 conviction and 20-year sentence were thrown out on appeal. A 2016 trial ended with a 3-3 hung jury.

Last year, prosecutors focused heavily on the 23-minute video in which she tells undercover officer Widy Jean, who was portraying a hit man, she was "5,000 percent sure" she wanted her husband dead and appeared to agree to pay $7,000. She also discussed various plots before Jean said he would kill her husband at the couple's home, making it look like a botched burglary while she was at the gym.

This time, while the tape remained a key piece of their evidence, prosecutors also called Michael Dippolito, who testified that his now ex-wife stole $100,000 from him shortly after they got married in February 2009. He also said someone twice planted drugs in his SUV and called police, which could have landed him back in prison for violating his probation. He thinks it was his wife. He has said previously he met his wife when he hired her for sex. He soon divorced another woman and married her.

According to The Palm Beach Post, prosecutors also read for the jury X-rated text messages Dalia Dippolito exchanged with a now-deceased lover, Mike Stanley, in 2009 after she got married. She had Stanley impersonate a doctor, to help her hide the $100,000 theft, and later a lawyer, to make her husband wrongly think he had completed probation. She hoped that if her husband stopped visiting his probation officer, he would be found in violation. In others, she rejoiced when she persuaded her husband to put their town house in her name only, then complained when she learned she still couldn't sell it without his signature.

Prosecutors also showed video of her interview with detectives at the police station after being made to believe her husband had been killed. She volunteered potential killers, including her husband's former crime partners, and denied knowing Jean when he was brought before her in handcuffs as the killer.

Defense attorneys in their case struck hard at the investigation, accusing the Boynton Beach police of playing to the "Cops" cameras in hopes of becoming famous, rather than doing a professional and thorough investigation. They criticized the department for posting on YouTube minutes after her arrest video of Dippolito being told falsely her husband was dead.

Former Boynton Beach Sgt. Frank Ranzie testified for the defense, saying that as a detective on the case he had opposed "Cops" filming the investigation because cameras make people, including police officers, behave differently. He also said his supervisors refused to delay a key meeting between Dippolito and their confidential informant, her sometimes lover Mohammed Shihadeh, minutes before her rendezvous with Jean when Shihadeh's recording device failed. He called that a major gap in the investigation.

Shihadeh, also testifying for the defense, said he only wanted police to call Dalia Dippolito, not arrest her. He said she told him she was being abused. He said detectives threatened him with arrest when he said he wanted out of their investigation, which would be a violation of department rules.

AdChoices
AdChoices
AdChoices
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon