Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mistrial declared in neo-Nazi murder trial

NEW PORT RICHEY, FL -- The jury in the trial of self-proclaimed neo-Nazi John Ditullio has told a judge it is unable to reach a verdict Friday night.

The jury began deliberating around 1 pm, then came back into the courtroom around 9 o'clock, and said they were at an impasse.

Circuit judge Michael Andrews then instructed the 12 jurors to go back and continue their deliberations. At 10:45 pm the jury re-entered the courtroom and again said they could not reach a unanimous verdict.

When the jurors were polled the foreman said they voted 10-2 in favor of an acquittal.

Lawyers for both sides refused to make any closing arguments after testimony wrapped earlier Friday.

But the bombshell was a surprise witness who testified for the defense.

Samantha Troupe took the stand and told the court she lived in the American Nazi's compound on Teak Street in New Port Richey. She said she is currently engaged to the group's former leader, who is in prison.

Troupe testified that one year after the 2006 murder, another member of the American Nazi's, Shawn Plott, told her he was responsible for the attack that left a teenager dead and a woman seriously injured.

"He said he feels bad, and I asked him why," said Troop. "And he said, because he (Plott) did this and it's wrong for this kid to go down but it doesn't matter anyways because he (Ditullio) would never had made it as a Nazi."

State attorney Mike Halkitis questioned her credibility, citing inconsistent statements given to investigators in the past.

Troupe said she was nervous taking the stand because she is afraid of Plott, who is currently a fugitive.

Thursday, the prosecution rested its case, and Ditullio took the stand in his own defense.

He says he became close with several members of a Pasco neo-Nazi group, but he was not the one who viciously attacked Patricia Wells and killed 17-year-old Kristofer King.

Earlier, a former member of the group testified against Ditullio. Cory Patnode said Ditullio told him "word for word" that he committed the crime.

Brandon Wininger, Wells' son and a friend of King's, also testified in the case, saying that the men who lived in the neo-Nazi compound shouted slurs at him because he is gay.


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