WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – The South Florida woman accused of hiring a hit man to kill her husband could learn Friday whether she is going to prison or will go free.
The defense rested Thursday in the trial of Dalia Dippolito.
Dippolito did not testify.
She’s accused of plotting to kill her husband Michael Dippolito in August 2009. Dippolito is seen on police surveillance telling the hit man, really an undercover Boynton Beach police officer, that she was sure she wanted Michael Dippolito dead.
But Dippolito’s defense is that she was acting for a reality TV show.
On Thursday her mother Randa Mohammed tearfully testified that Dalia was a different person before she met Michael Dippolito. She says the two had a close relationship but that all changed when Dalia began dating Michael Dippolito. A man she described as untrustworthy and controlling, Randa Mohammed also disputed a prosecution allegation that Dalia Dippolito was looking for funeral homes before her husband could be killed. According to Randa Mohammed Dalia helped her do an internet search to find a funeral home where Dalia’s grandfather could be cremated. Her grandfather died the same week as the murder for hire plot unfolded.
Defense attorney Michael Salnick also called an expert on reality TV to the stand.
Sarah Coyne, who has a doctorate and teaches at Brigham Young University in Utah, has published over thirty papers on the genre. She testified that anything goes on reality TV and boundaries are tested. “People try to become famous,” said Coyne.
According to Coyne, the three ways someone gets on a reality TV show are through an audition, approaching a producer or doing something outlandish.
She also said that on occasion someone has used YouTube to their advantage to gain an audience. She pointed to teen idol Justin Bieber’s successful video that went viral and caught the attention of an agent in the music industry.
When asked whether reality TV is benign entertainment or the bane of society, Coyne said she would need to do more research.
The last defense witness Carol Peden, who works for Global Compusearch as a digital forensics expert, said she analyzed what was on Dalia Dippolito’s computer that police seized.
Peden testified that Dalia Dippolito had done an internet search on reality TV, three months before the supposed murder for hire plot. She found searches for, “reality shows auditioning in Florida and VH1 castings.”
The judge told the defense and prosecution they could each have two hours Friday morning for their closings.
Then the jury will begin deliberations.
If convicted of solicitation to commit first degree murder, Dalia Dippolito faces a maximum thirty years in prison.