Lafayette teen guilty of all charges in neighbor’s killing
(08-28) 16:42 PDT MARTINEZ — Scott Dyleski, a 17-year-old Lafayette high school student, has been convicted of premeditated first-degree murder with special circumstances and burglary in the bludgeoning death of a Lafayette neighbor, a jury decided today.
The jury found Dyleski guilty of killing Pamela Vitale, 52, in her Lafayette home.
He could face life in prison but not the death penalty because of his young age.
Vitale’s husband of 11 years, noted defense attorney and television analyst Daniel Horowitz, found her dead at their Lafayette home Oct. 15 on rural Hunsaker Canyon Road. She had been working on her computer before being struck repeatedly in the head with a piece of wooden molding and stabbed, authorities said.
The jury came to a decision today after deliberating for less than four days after a three-week trial in Superior Court in Martinez.
Authorities linked Dyleski’s DNA to DNA found on Vitale’s foot and Vitale’s DNA on a ski mask, shoes and a glove that belonged to Dyleski.
The killer, Contra Costa County prosecutor Harold Jewett said, carved a symbol resembling a double-crossed “T” into Vitale’s back while she was alive, Jewett said. Jewett also said Vitale may have become his victim because he used her address in a scheme to buy marijuana growing equipment by using stolen credit-card information.
Jewett told jurors that Dyleski bludgeoned Vitale to death, possibly after mistaking her for another neighbor who had run over his dog two weeks earlier.
Witnesses for the prosecution told jurors that Dyleski, who attended Acalanes High School in Lafayette, had a fascination with symbols and drew artwork that centered on the macabre, including images of killing and body parts.
Dyleski’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ellen Leonida, told jurors that her client was not Vitale’s killer.
Acquaintances described Dyleski as a typical suburban kid who later began to embrace Goth culture, dying his brown hair black and wearing a trenchcoat.