Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Attorney asks for lighter sentence for Scott Dyleski

By Caitilin McAdoo, Bay City News Service

September 25, 2006

MARTINEZ (BCN) - In anticipation of a sentencing hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Scott Dyleski's attorney asked a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge in a memo filed Thursday to grant Dyleski the lightest possible sentence, 25 years to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

A jury convicted Dyleski, 17, in August of the first-degree murder of his Lafayette neighbor Pamela Vitale, 52, the wife of attorney and legal analyst Daniel Horowitz. Jurors also found the teenager guilty of committing a burglary while committing murder, a special circumstance that could send Dyleski to prison for the rest of his life without the possibility of parole.

However, because Dyleski was 16 when he bludgeoned Vitale to death in her home on the morning of Oct. 15, the California penal code allows the court to grant the possibility of parole.

Dyleski's attorney, Ellen Leonida, cited in her memo Dyleski's difficult childhood, his lack of a violent or criminal past and the fact that he was only 16 at the time of the slaying as reasons to grant the teenager a future opportunity to apply for parole.

"A life term with the possibility of parole is not a guarantee of future freedom," Leonida wrote. He would have to demonstrate to a parole board that he had been reformed and deserved a second chance.

In describing his childhood, Leonida wrote that after Dyleski's parents separated when he was 2 years old, he and his mother moved frequently and lived "hand-to-mouth" until they ended up on the Curiel property, which was where they were living at the time of the murder.

For years, as the Curiel family built their house, Dyleski and his mother lived outdoors in a lean-to shack constructed of straw and mud, Leonida wrote. "Scott lived without electricity, plumbing, heat, or running water. He was only able to shower once a week, at the homes of his mother's friends."

Leonida wrote that at one point the lean-to became so overrun with rodents that Dyleski and his mother spent months sleeping on friends' couches.

"The fact that Esther Fielding describes the years they spent in a lean-to as 'fun' and 'like camping,' is a telling example of the profound narcissism that defines the adults in Scott's life," Leonida wrote.

While this was going on, Dyleski's father, Ken Dyleski, became so concerned about Dyleski's welfare that he called Child Protective Services, but he never offered his son a home, the memo states. Child Protective Services failed to investigate the complaint.

Several witnesses testified at trial that the death of Dyleski's sister also had a severe impact on the teenager, who dressed in all black for the funeral and continued to wear black until his arrest close to a year ago.

Leonida wrote that despite his upbringing, Dyleski became a bright, talented teenager who had friends, did well in school and had graduated early to attend college.

"The astonishment expressed by those around him upon hearing of this crime shows that there is more to Scott Dyleski than the worst thing he has done," Leonida wrote.

"If this court can say that any seventeen-year-old is completely and permanently beyond redemption, that certainly can not be said about Scott Dyleski," Leonida wrote.

After the jury's verdict was read, Vitale's family talked about how much they missed Vitale. They also said that they way she was killed had made her death even more difficult. Dyleski struck Vitale at least 26 times with a rock-like object, then, as she was dying, he cut open her stomach and carved a symbol into her back.

"The bottom line is he's obviously a very sick, miserable person who took pleasure in murdering someone," Horowitz told reporters after the verdict was read. He said that putting Dyleski in prison wouldn't do anything to help his wife, but it would keep a murderer off the streets.

Dyleski is scheduled to be sentenced in Judge Barbara Zuniga's courtroom in Martinez Tuesday morning.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa