Bo Dietl takes on the BPD
If the Boston Police Department thinks the Boston Phoenix has been tough on its homicide squad, wait until they get a load of Robert “Bo” Dietl.
Dietl — author, former New York homicide detective, analyst for MSNBC, frequent CNN guest, and Monday-morning regular on Don Imus’s radio show — plans to hold a press conference in Boston blasting the BPD for its work on a case he’s taken interest in: the prosecution of David and Paul Pepicelli for the 1999 North End murder of David Stivaletta. The Pepicellis claimed they were defending themselves against six attackers, but in 2004 a jury convicted David of manslaughter, and Paul of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
“My partner John [Cutter] and I can say, professionally, that a horrible investigation was done,” says Dietl, who runs a security consulting firm in New York. He agreed to review the case a year ago for a $5000 retainer, but is now pursuing it pro bono. “Maybe by me coming to Boston and giving my professional view, maybe it will bring some attention to the case.”
Dietl is particularly critical of homicide detective Robert Harrington — who has since been promoted — and the way that ballistics evidence was collected and examined. Some ballistic evidence at the scene was not kept; the owner of one car with bullets in it was allowed to drive away. Two BPD ballisticians — Carl Washington, now retired, and James O’Shea — both testified that they took no notes at the crime scene. The first ballistics report was not made for nearly three years — and a year after that, a second report was created, with different results, after O’Shea claims he noticed errors in the first report. “It’s ludicrous,” Dietl says of the ballistics work. “They even had a theory that one bullet made a left turn down an alley.”
The Pepicellis have just filed an appeal to set aside the verdict, arguing that the violent background of Stivaletta and his friends should have been considered in trial. A hearing is scheduled later this month.
But in the meantime, the BPD better brace itself for the bombastic Mr. Dietl
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