Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Makeup covers Pasco neo-Nazi's tattoos in second trial

NEW PORT RICHEY — As attorneys on Monday began the slow, meticulous process of picking jurors to decide his fate, neo-Nazi John Ditullio sat watching, the tattoos on his face and neck hidden by powder and makeup.

Ditullio was living with an American Nazi group near Hudson in 2006 when authorities say he broke into the next-door neighbor's home and stabbed two people. One died.

Now 24, he is on trial for the second time, charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. While awaiting trial in jail, he got tattoos of a swastika and the words "f--- you" burned onto his neck. Jurors won't see them, though, after a judge agreed to have them covered each day by a makeup artist, at a cost to taxpayers of $125 a day.

It came up in jury selection.

"I didn't think it was right that the taxpayers should have to foot the bill for that," one woman told the judge.

The makeup issue — which pits a defendant's right to a fair trial against fair use of public money — prompted a story Monday in the New York Times and other national media outlets.

It also angered the mother of Kristofer King, the 17-year-old killed in the attack.

"This is part of who (Ditullio) is. This is what the jury should see. And if the jury is afraid, they should be," Charlene Bricken, King's mother, told the St. Petersburg Times during Ditullio's trial last year.

That trial lasted a week and ended with a deadlocked jury, which voted 10-2 in favor of acquittal.

Authorities say the neo-Nazi group Ditullio was living with on Teak Street in Griffin Park adhered to white supremacist beliefs, and they hated the neighbors next door. Patricia Wells had an African-American friend who visited her, and her son was gay.

After weeks of harassing Wells and her family, shouting slurs and threats, one night Ditullio acted on them, authorities say. On March 23, 2006, he covered his face with a gas mask, broke into Wells' home and stabbed her, authorities say. King, a friend of her son, was in the house and was also stabbed. Wells recovered. Her son was not at home.

Ditullio and his attorneys say the real killer is Shawn Plott, another member of the Nazi group who is now a fugitive.

In this week's retrial, prosecutors plan to call a new witness: Kraig Constantino, who came forward earlier this year saying that Ditullio had admitted to him in jail that he stabbed two people.

Constantino claims that Ditullio said he stabbed Wells because she was dating an African-American man and they sold crack cocaine; and Ditullio said he turned the knife on King when he came to Wells' aid. Constantino has numerous arrests on his record, including a pending charge of aggravated battery in which he is accused of beating a man with a board and stabbing him with a pocketknife.

New on the defense side: Attorney Bjorn Brunvand wants to use cardboard cutouts that depict the height and clothing of Ditullio, Plott and another man, Ron James.

Wells says the person who stabbed her was wearing a white T-shirt and khaki pants and was "a lot smaller" than her friend James, who is 6 foot 1. Ditullio had on red and black that day, witnesses said, and is the same height as James. Plott is 5 feet 8.

Brunvand hoped to use the cutouts to illustrate the discrepancies for jurors.

But Circuit Judge Michael Andrews said he won't allow the cutouts to show clothing or faces. He said blank cutouts depicting only height could be used.

Jury selection continues today. Ditullio faces a possible death sentence.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at

Makeup covers Pasco neo-Nazi's tattoos in second trial 12/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 7, 2010 11:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.