CLEARWATER, Fla. — When John Ditullio goes on trial on Monday, jurors will not see the large swastika tattooed on his neck. Or the crude insult tattooed on the other side of his neck. Or any of the other markings he has acquired since being jailed on charges related to a double stabbing that wounded a woman and killed a teenager in 2006.
The court approved the judicial equivalent of an extreme makeover, paying $125 a day for the services of a cosmetologist to cover up the tattoos that Mr. Ditullio has gotten since his arrest. This is Mr. Ditullio’s second trial for the murder; the first, which also involved the services of a cosmetologist, ended last year in a mistrial. If convicted, he could face the death penalty. – NY Times
- Why isn’t the defendant’s current appearance considered one of the facts presented to the jury? Clearly appearance matters – hence counsel’s move for the makeover (and the state’s vociferous objection). Does it say something about him that he went ahead with the tattoos even though he hadn’t been to trial yet?
- Wouldn’t a band-aid, head scarf, and turtleneck sweater be just as effective? How about Mickey Mouse ears? Or maybe a smurf mask. Or Shrek! That’s it – big, lovable Shrek!
- Evidence introduced at the first trial indicates the defendant lived in a neo-Nazi compound and espoused neo-Nazi beliefs. (Actually, it was a trailer home. Everybody knows that the superior race favors trailer homes.) The woman surviving the attack reported that the defendant had threatened her for having Black visitors, and her teenage son (who was killed) because he was gay. Given these data, isn’t the swastika something the jury should know about?
- Nobody seems to understand what the message on his neck actually says. If found guilty, should he receive additional penalties for wearing misspelled words?
- How many would compromise on this issue and just have the sonofabitch flayed alive, removing the skin as well as the tattoos? Everybody? Does it matter that he’s innocent until proven guilty? I didn’t think so. No, I didn’t think it would.