An episode of I (Almost) Got Away With It featuring one of Pasco County's most infamous murderers, neo-Nazi John Ditullio, has been snatched from DVD production and is being revised.
"Regrettably, Indigo Films' review confirmed that certain inaccuracies were presented in this episode," the production company said in a written statement, after the Tampa Bay Times and its coverage partner, Bay News 9, reported last weekend on errors in the show.
In the episode, which aired in June on the Investigation Discovery cable channel, Ditullio confessed to crimes he's never been charged with — crimes that authorities doubt ever happened. Among other things, Ditullio boasted of murdering a transient and cutting off the pinky finger of a man who disrespected the American Nazi Party, along with threatening and battering what appears to be a legion of others, in the name of biker gangs, Nazi loyalty and just because violence pleases him.
"I've rendered a lot of people ineffective for life," Ditullio said in his televised interview from prison, where he's serving a life sentence for stabbing a teenager to death.
Members of the Pasco County Sheriff's Office were infuriated by the episode. The show said the agency launched an investigation after the homeless man's body was found, when in fact there was no body, no investigation, no indication such an attack ever happened. Quotes from an interview with Capt. John Corbin were edited to make it sound like he was speaking about the alleged murder, when in fact he'd never been asked about it.
The agency said it would never work again with the TV company.
This week the Sheriff's Office was contacted by executives with Indigo Films and Investigation Discovery. "They apologized," said sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin.
They said they were pulling the episode from online rentals and DVD sales so they can revise it, Tobin said. The changed episode might include new interviews with Corbin and other Sheriff's Office members.
"They are going above and beyond to make this right and we do appreciate that as an agency," Tobin said. "We will work with them, if there is anything we can do to assist them."
In a statement released Thursday, Indigo Films said it is working with the Sheriff's Office to revise the script, specifically on Ditullio's confession of murdering the homeless man.
"Indigo Films acknowledges errors were made regarding the alleged murder being reported to police and the ensuing investigation, as well as Captain Corbin's commentary being taken out of context in regards to this unsubstantiated claim by Ditullio," the statement reads.
Indigo Films, which says it has produced five seasons of I (Almost) Got Away With It, said it has taken steps within its research department to ensure these errors won't happen again.
"Investigation Discovery and Indigo Films hold their relationships with the police across this country as paramount in presenting accurate programming and showcasing the commendable efforts of the authorities to keep our cities safe and bring offenders to justice," the release states.
Though Ditullio confessed to the alleged transient killing, he denied the murder he's sitting in prison for committing. In 2006, Ditullio lived with a neo-Nazi group in a mobile home on Teak Street. Prosecutors said Ditullio wore a gas mask and broke into the neighboring home and stabbed Kristofer King, 17, who died, and Patricia Wells, then 45, who was injured but survived. Authorities said the neo-Nazi group hated Wells because she had a black friend and her son was gay. On the night of the attack, King, a friend of Wells' son, was at the house, but her son was not there. Prosecutors believed the attacker thought King was Wells' son.
Ditullio is appealing his conviction.
Pasco Sheriff's Lt. Eric Seltzer, who investigated the stabbings, said he appreciated that the production company pulled the show. But, he said, the damage is done. He said the show was "disrespectful" to Ditullio's victims.
"They should be embarrassed they allowed him to manipulate them and run the show," Seltzer said.
He said Ditullio is not a tough guy, but a "coward" who preys on those weaker than him.
"The only thing that Ditullio told the truth about is that he is a murderer," Seltzer said.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6229.