WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Dalia Dippolito was back in court Thursday as her attorneys sought to get her out of jail while they appeal her 16-year prison sentence for hiring an undercover police officer who was posing as a hit man to kill her husband.
The 34-year-old Boynton Beach woman was convicted in June of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. It was her third murder-for-hire trial.
Defense attorneys are seeking an appellate bond for Dippolito while the Fourth District Court of Appeal considers their argument for a new trial. They claim that a juror was sleeping during crucial testimony in Dippolito's most recent trial.
Assistant state attorney Craig Williams wrote in a recent court filing that Dippolito should not be released from custody because she is a flight risk. In the filing, Williams cited a July 8 jail conversation that Dippolito had with an apparent lover about a recent prison break.
"Shortly after the verdict, the defendant can be heard on tape enthusiastically discussing a recent case of how an inmate broke out of a maximum security prison using wire cutters that were delivered to him via drone," Williams wrote.
Local 10 News obtained the recorded jail call last week.
"There is a guy who was in prison in Texas and he had somebody fly a drone over and drop off wire cutters, and he cut wires and escaped from prison," Dippolito said in the recording.
"Wow, that's awesome," the man said.
Dippolito was wrong. The escaped inmate broke out of a prison in South Carolina. He was captured in Texas two days later.
"Everyone here was, like, pumped up when they read that," Dippolito said.
Defense attorney Brian Claypool, who spoke via teleconference from California, said there was no enthusiasm in Dippolito's voice as she spoke about the prison break during her phone conversation. He said there was no plot to orchestrate a similar escape.
Williams argued that Dippolito is a flight risk because she has no ties to the area other than her family. He said she could take her 1-year-old son and flee.
Dippolito's mother testified during the hearing and revealed that the man whose voice is heard on the recorded jail call was Robert Davis, a felon who is the father of Dippolito's child.
Palm Beach County Judge Glenn Kelley, who denied a previous request for a new trial, heard arguments from both sides during a hearing Thursday morning, but he did not make a decision. Kelley said he will issue a written decision in a timely manner.
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 gave birth to a son while she was out of jail on house arrest between the second and third trials.
If attorneys successfully appeal the decision, Dippolito would get a fourth trial.