The appellate lawyers for the young man convicted of killing the wife of prominent Bay Area attorney Daniel Horowitz reclaimed their client's innocence Tuesday.
San Francisco attorneys Kate Hallinan and Sara Zalkin said they have filed a habeas corpus petition they hope will prove Scott Dyleski did not kill Pamela Vitale back in 2005. Instead the lawyers claim there is evidence that the widower in the case should be considered a suspect, pointing to Horowitz directly.
Horowitz called the allegations nonsense.
The killing made headlines across the Bay Area and the country for months. Vitale and Horowitz were building a dream home in the hills of Lafayette and were staying in a mobile home on the property. She was killed on a Saturday morning. Horowitz is the one who found her body after returning home later that day.
Dyleski was convicted of murder after the jury was convinced he killed his neighbor as part of a scheme to buy pot growing equipment on stolen credit cards. The prosecution said he accidentally used Vitale's address on one of the stolen cards and then later burglarized their mobile home. When she surprised him during that crime, prosecutors said he struck and killed her with a rock and then carved a symbol into her back. Dyleski is serving a life term in prison.
His attorneys claim investigators did not thoroughly investigate Horowitz as a possible suspect. They specifically question Horowitz' alibi.
In a press release the lawyers claim, "Despite the variety of compelling evidence indicating that Mr. Horowitz may have been the true perpetrator, many potential avenues of investigation were ignored. For example, Mr. Horowitz’s alleged alibi was never confirmed. Additionally, the physical evidence allegedly implicating Mr. Dyleski in the crime was highly problematic; potential errors in both the collection and analysis of the physical evidence in the case rendered this evidence suspect at best."
They also claim insufficient counsel for Dyleski during the trial.
"Mr. Dyleski’s prior counsel failed to investigate or present an abundance of readily available evidence indicating that Mr. Dyleski was not responsible for the murder of Pamela Vitale. Experts consulted by Mr. Dyleski’s habeas counsel found that the physical evidence at the crime scene was inconsistent with a stranger or profit-motivated perpetrator, but rather indicated that the guilty party was someone known to Ms. Vitale and comfortable in the home she shared with Mr. Horowitz (e.g., the perpetrator straightened up during or after the attack by placing dirty dishes by the sink; the perpetrator may have used a key to open the front door mid-attack; and the perpetrator may have taken a shower in the home)."
Horowitz is still a high profile attorney in the Bay Area. He recently represented Kimberly Bell, Barry Bonds' ex-girlfriend who testified in Bonds' recent federal trial.
Below is a YouTube video posted in October 2009 where Horowitz talks about the murder of his wife.
Dyleski's attorneys admited Tuesday there was no physical evidence to link Horowitz to the crime, but claim they have motive. They say that Horowitz was angry about changes Vitale made to the flooring.
"Hundreds of thousands of dollars of flooring had been sitting while all these changes were being made was damaged," Kate Hallinan said.
Horowitz replied to that claim, "No flooring was ever replaced. I don’t have a clue where they get that from."
Horowitz says the facts are as clear now as they were six years ago.
"He murdered Pamela. So now that he’s in prison and trying to get out of prison, the fact that he says things about me, or his lawyers do, is little, it means nothing," Horowitz said.