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Dalia Dippolito sentenced to 16 years in prison in murder-for-hire plot

Judge hands 34-year-old lesser sentence than she received after 2011 conviction

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A Boynton Beach woman who hired an undercover police officer to kill her husband has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Dalia Dippolito sat in a Palm Beach County courtroom Friday as Judge Glenn Kelley handed down the sentence, straying from the state's request for the maximum 30-year sentence and her defense attorneys' request for two years in prison with credit for time served while she was on house arrest.

Dippolito, who was convicted last month of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, showed no emotion as the sentence was announced.

Kelley made his ruling after listening to testimony from Dippolito's family members and ex-husband during her sentencing hearing.

The judge weighed Dippolito's years under house arrest and the fact that she had no previous criminal record, but Kelley said he couldn't overlook her calculated plot to have her husband killed. 

Kelley said he didn't feel that anything above the 20-year sentence that she received after her first trial in 2011 was appropriate. He did issue her credit for 163 days of time served.

Earlier in the courtroom, Mike Dippolito testified that he met his then-bride-to-be when she was working as an escort.

"What was your sex life like with the defendant?" assistant state attorney Laura Laurie asked Mike Dippolito.

"I thought it was great," Mike Dippolito said.

"Like, would you equate to most young couples who are in love with each other?" Laurie asked.

"Listen, when I met her, it was very exciting," Mike Dippolito said. "We got along really well. Our sex life was amazing and that was part of the whole reason, you know, I was so into her and I thought she was into me." 

Mike Dippolito denied ever forcing her into sex.

When Rosenfeld questioned the convicted felon, he became agitated.

"So you didn't want probation to know how much income you had?" Rosenfeld asked.

"What does this have to do with anything?" Mike Dippolito asked, turning to Judge Glenn Kelley.

"I'm not trying to attack his character, judge," Rosenfeld said.

"What's the question going to make any (expletive) sense?" Mike Dippolito said.

Dalia Dippolito's attorneys filed a motion for downward departure, seeking 48 months in prison with credit for time served. The request would have meant that Dippolito would serve just 24 months in state prison, plus jail credit for 163 days, followed by eight years of probation with restitution.

Attorneys argued that Dippolito "has been a law-abiding citizen her entire life." They said she "has lived a truly exemplary life" aside from the crime for which she was convicted.

Dippolito was found guilty of hiring an undercover police detective whom she thought was a hit man to kill her then-husband in 2009, saying that she was "5,000 percent sure" she wanted him dead. The Boynton Beach Police Department staged a phony crime scene on the day that Dippolito's husband was supposed to be killed and recorded her reaction.

Her 2011 conviction and 20-year sentence were thrown out on appeal. Last year's trial ended with a 3-3 hung jury.

Dippolito has since given birth to a son, who is now 1 year old, while she was out of jail on house arrest. She has been in jail since her third trial resulted in another conviction.

Her attorneys criticized the state for "inexplicably" pursuing the 30-year sentence. They argued that the shorter sentence was justified because Dippolito "poses no future threat to society."

A motion seeking a fourth trial was recently denied after Kelley ruled that a juror wasn't sleeping during last month's trial.

Rosenfeld told reporters after the sentencing that the defense team intends to appeal the decision.