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Retrial for Defendant in Antigay Killing

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A self-proclaimed neo-Nazi will be tried again in Pasco County, Fla., next year on charges of killing a gay man and trying to kill a white woman who was friendly with a black man, The Suncoast News reports.

Judge Michael Andrews declared a mistrial Friday in the case of John Ditullio Jr. after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict, with a 10-2 vote in favor of finding him not guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder, following testimony from a witness who said another man committed the crimes. At a hearing Monday morning in New Port Richey, a retrial was set for March 22. If convicted, Ditullio could face the death penalty.

Ditullio is accused of stabbing Kristofer King to death in March 2006. King was using a computer at a mobile home in New Port Richey belonging to Patricia Wells, whose son was a friend of King's, when the attack occurred. Wells was also attacked, but she survived. Her son was not home at the time.

Prosecutors said Ditullio targeted King because he was gay and Wells because she associated with a black man. They said Ditullio was trying to impress a neo-Nazi group called the American Nazis so he could gain membership, according to the News.

A former member of the group testified that Ditullio was the killer, but Ditullio's lawyer said his client was involved with the group but did not commit the crimes. Instead, the lawyer said, he was set up by its members. The defense introduced the possibility that the attacker was Sean Plott, a member who is now listed as a fugitive. On Friday, Samantha Toupe, who once lived at the group's compound, said Plott told her a year later that he had committed the attack. Her testimony may have influenced the jury's vote, the newspaper reported.

An unusual aspect of the case made news earlier this month when Andrews agreed to allow a makeup artist to cover some of Ditullio's tattoos on the grounds that they might prejudice the jury.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.