Florida neo-Nazi convicted of murder in stabbing of teen

Reuters/December 15, 2010

A Florida neo-Nazi was convicted of first degree murder on Wednesday and could be sentenced to death for fatally stabbing a teenager four years ago.

A jury in New Port Richey, north of St. Petersburg, found John Ditullio, 24, guilty of murdering Kristofer King, 17, and of stabbing Patricia Wells, during an attack at Wells' home in 2006. King was a friend of Wells' son and was visiting at the time of the attack.

Ditullio was a member of the American Nazis, who had their headquarters in a mobile home next door to Wells in New Port Richey.

During the trial, the judge ordered that tattoos on Ditullio's face and neck, including one of a swastika, be covered with makeup to keep the jury members from seeing them.

Wells, who is white, said she was being harassed by members of the group because she had an African-American male friend who visited her and because her son was gay.

Ditullio testified that he was in the group's mobile home at the time of the attack. He said he was being framed by other members of the group and that another neo-Nazi, Shawn Plott, may have committed the crimes.

Plott was never charged and has disappeared. The attacker wore a gas mask and Wells could not identify him.

Ditullio was the only person in the American Nazi's clubhouse when police came to investigate the stabbings.

An inmate who spent time with Ditullio in jail and two other members of the American Nazis testified Ditullio told them he carried out the attack.

Ditullio's lawyer argued that prosecutors had not proven the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors said blood from the crime scene was found on Ditullio's boot.

This was Ditullio's second trial on the charges. The first trial in 2009 ended when the jury could not agree on a verdict.

(Writing by Robert Green, Editing by Greg McCune)

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