Dalia Dippolito was sentenced Friday for hiring a “hit-man” who was really an undercover cop to kill her husband. Judge Glenn Kelly gave her 16 years in prison, with some credit for time served. She had 30 days to appeal, and must pay $518 of court costs.
Prosecutors pushed for 30 years behind bars, but the judge cited her original 20 year sentence. Under Florida case law, he shouldn’t imprison her for more than two decades, he said.
The defense fought for 24 months behind bars, eight years probation, and credit for time served under house arrest. That was too low for Kelly. He said the crime was performed in a “cold and calculated” fashion, with Dippolito manipulating three men.
Kelly argued that evidence, including Mike Dippolito’s testimony at trial and sentencing, justified a 20-year sentence. Alleged police misbehavior wasn’t a mitigating factor since the investigation probably saved the victim’s life.
The judge, however, partially accepted letters written on Dalia’s behalf, which claimed she was a changed person who found religion. He also acknowledged she lacked a criminal record before the 2009 murder-for-hire plot. Credit for house arrest did apply to the sentence, but Kelly didn’t equate it on a day-to-day basis to prison.
“It’s not the functional equivalent to jail,” he said.
It was an emotional day in court. Defense attorneys Brian Claypool and Greg Rosenfeld, not to mention Dalia Dippolito’s mother, attacked Mike Dippolito. For his part, the victim lashed out in court when accused of using his Dalia to hide money from probation officers. Prosecutors claimed the defendant got pregnant to get a reduced sentence, though Kelly apparently rejected that argument.
The jury found Dalia Dippolito guilty in June–her third trial. The first resulted in a conviction which was overturned on appeal, and the second ended in December after jurors couldn’t reach a verdict, causing a mistrial.
The case caught a lot of attention after her plot was featured on an episode of Cops.
It’s unlikely that her attorneys will let this settle. Last week, they argued she should get a retrial because they thought one of the jurors was sleeping, but the court ruled against them.
Update – July 21, 2:07 p.m.: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the maximum possible sentence is 20 years. It is actually 30.
5:34 p.m.: The judge handed down his sentence. The article has been updated to reflect this development.
Cathy Russon contributed to this article.
[Screengrab via LawNewz Network]