As the video from the Boynton Beach Police station interrogation room played on the courtroom screen Friday, the jurors studied the scene of Dalia Dippolito weeping as an officer said her husband was murdered in the couple’s townhome.
After several minutes of questioning, including inquiries about possible suspects, the cop suddenly announced: “The game’s over with. Now we’re going to get down to serious business.”
The footage — shown to the jury on the second day of Dippolito’s third trial on a 2009 murder-for-hire charge — next featured Dippolito denying she knew a man escorted into the room. But it was actually Officer Widy Jean, who had played the role of a hit man she met and allegedly hired two days earlier on camera.
“You’re going to jail for solicitation of first degree murder of your husband,” Sgt. Paul Sheridan told Dippolito. “Everything’s been recorded.”
“I didn’t do anything, please, I didn’t do anything,” she pleaded in the video, played while prosecutors questioned the lead detective on the case, Alex Moreno.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley allowed prosecutors to use the police station video over the objections of defense attorneys Greg Rosenfeld and Brian Claypool.
However, prosecutors Craig Williams and Laura Laurie agreed to edit out a part when a very much alive husband Michael Dippolito comes into the interrogation room.
On Thursday, Michael Dippolito testified he was surprised when police officers knocked on his door on the morning of Aug. 5, 2009, the day his wife of six months was arrested. He said he had no idea of her alleged plot to have him killed, but had suspected she had been trying for months to get him thrown in jail for violating his probation on a felony fraud conviction.
Prosecutors didn’t use any of the police station video during Dalia Dippolito’s second trial, which ended in a mistrial last December when the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict.
The interrogation clips were shown in the first trial in 2011, which produced a conviction and 20-year prison sentence, later thrown out on appeal.
Also Friday, the jury heard and viewed several other potentially incriminating recordings of Dippolito, again after the defense fought unsuccessfully to keep them out.
These included Dippolito’s phone calls and a meeting with her former lover, Mohamed Shihadeh, who was secretly working as a Boynton Beach police confidential informant.
By Marc Freeman