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Two neo-Nazis point finger at Ditullio in Pasco stabbing trial

NEW PORT RICHEY — Cory Patnode and John Berry were standing outside their neo-Nazi clubhouse one night in March 2006 when a next door neighbor burst out of her house, screaming and running into the street. Seconds later, a man in a gas mask followed her out, jumped the fence between the two houses and disappeared into the neo-Nazi compound.

Patnode and Berry, officers in the white supremacist group, followed inside and encountered John Ditullio, a 19-year-old recruit who had been living there for a few months.

"I killed them both, stabbed them in the head," Patnode remembered Ditullio saying.

Berry recalled similar words.

Both men testified Friday in Ditullio's trial. He is charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the 2006 stabbing on Teak Street in New Port Richey. Patricia Wells, the next door neighbor, was injured, and Kristofer King, her son's friend, was killed.

Patnode testified in Ditullio's first trial last year, which ended with a hung jury that nearly acquitted him. Berry was absent.

But their testimony Friday provided a substantially similar versions of the night's events. That the members were at the house drinking whiskey and blasting music. That Ditullio was in and out, and at one point slashed the tires on King's car next door. The group hated and taunted King for being gay, and they called Wells a "n----- lover" for having a black friend.

After the stabbing, Berry said he told everyone to get out of the house before police arrived. He said Shawn Plott, another American Nazi member who was passed out drunk on the couch, was awakened. Berry and Ditullio headed west; Plott and Patnode ran east.

Berry said he and Ditullio knocked on a friend's door a couple blocks away but got no answer. As they turned around and headed back toward the clubhouse, Berry said Ditullio stopped to get rid of a knife.

He buried it "in one of the yards on the way back to the house," said Berry, who is serving prison time for organized fraud.

He told investigators about that knife this February — nearly four years after the attack — and they searched and unearthed a broken blade in a yard on Teak Street. It was buried about 6 inches deep, a couple feet from a well.

Ditullio, prosecutors say, wrote a poem about his life containing the line "the knife, the well, the things I hid well."

The poem and knife blade were not in evidence at last year's trial.

Ditullio ended up alone inside the clubhouse, where he sat all night on a couch, surrounded by guns, until SWAT team members broke in and arrested him.

Prosecutors on Friday called a second DNA analyst, who tested a blood sample taken from Ditullio's boot and found a match to the DNA of Patricia Wells. That testimony helped blunt the mistake of another analyst who also found Wells' DNA on the boot but contaminated the sample with the analyst's own DNA.

The state rested its case Friday.

The defense will present its case Monday, and Ditullio will take the stand.

His attorneys say he is an innocent man being framed by the neo-Nazi brothers, who vowed never to betray each other.

They say Plott, who has been missing since 2007, is the real killer.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com.

Two neo-Nazis point finger at Ditullio in Pasco stabbing trial 12/10/10 [Last modified: Friday, December 10, 2010 10:01pm]
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