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Husband's anguished screams re-enacted at murder trial

'No, Pamela! No, no, please! No!' prominent lawyer cried

By Lisa Sweetingham


Daniel Horowitz
Crime, Law and Justice

MARTINEZ, California (CourtTV) -- Gothic imagery, dark poetry and an obsession with cult murders filled the mind of a former Boy Scout who is accused of brutally killing the wife of a prominent criminal defense attorney, prosecutors told a jury Thursday.

"It wasn't Goth, it wasn't even death, it was murder," prosecutor Harold Jewett said, describing writings and drawings that investigators found in a search of defendant Scott Dyleski's bedroom.

Dyleski, 17, has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Pamela Vitale, a mother of two and former Bay Area high-tech executive who was married to attorney Daniel Horowitz.

Dyleski is also charged with the special circumstance of murder during a burglary.

Dyleski disguised himself in a black ski mask, gloves and trench coat before allegedly entering Vitale's home and making a surprise attack on his neighbor, shortly after 10 a.m. on October 15, 2005.

Victim fought back

"She fought as valiantly as she could but the attack continued," Jewett said.

Vitale, 52, suffered 26 "devastating" head wounds that led to bleeding in her brain, he said. But after she was dead from her head injuries, the attack continued.

Vitale was stabbed so viciously in her abdomen, Jewett said, that her intestines were exposed. And then the killer carved a symbol into her back.

"Mr. Dyleski was big into symbols. He signs his name and puts his symbol on his artwork," Jewett said.

The prosecutor drew a symbol on a white piece of butcher paper that allegedly represented the signature Dyleski carved into Vitale's back, an H-shaped symbol with an extended T-bar.

Family in courtroom

Vitale's children, Marisa and Mario, sat in the front row, quietly crying and holding each other. Horowitz sat two rows back with his sister and had a pained look on his face as he shook his head.

Dyleski wore a crisp, white dress shirt, tan khakis and a gold tie Thursday. His mid-neck-length black hair was slicked back into a hard shell.

During pretrial hearings in March the defendant was engrossed in his writings on a yellow legal pad, barely looking up at witnesses. But during opening statements Thursday he watched the prosecutor's every move and listened intently.

Vitale and Horowitz had been married almost 11 years when she was killed. They lived in a trailer on their 12-acre hilltop property while Vitale oversaw construction of their dream home: A European-style mansion with a vineyard.

Jewett described how Horowitz discovered the horrific crime scene after coming home from a long day of working on a case.

"He knew something was wrong because he saw blood smears," Jewett said. "And then he opened the door and saw his wife."

Body by door

Vitale's body was in a fetal position near the front door, a pool of blood around her head.

"'No, Pamela! No, no, please! No!'" Jewett screamed as he re-enacted for jurors the sounds of Horowitz's cries as later described by neighbors who called 911. "Over and over again, his voice echoing down the canyon," the prosecutor said.

Jewett told the jury that he planned to call some 40 witnesses. They include Dyleski's best friend, his girlfriend and his mother -- a reluctant witness who agreed to cooperate in exchange for escaping prosecution herself after she destroyed clothes, notes and other evidence.

Prosecutors also plan to offer the jury about 100 exhibits, including DNA evidence, bloody clothing, footprints, glove prints, fingerprints and the dark journal writings and drawings found in Dyleski's room.

Jurors will begin hearing testimony on Monday.

Dyleski faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if he is convicted.

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