Neo-Nazi convict ‘fesses up to new murder in TV show but authorities call it a ‘fairy tale’
A neo-Nazi already locked up for stabbing a teen to death in 2006 appeared in a recent episode of the cable TV show, “I (Almost) Got Away With it,” and made a startling confession: He once murdered a homeless man.
But as incredible as John Ditullio’s account sounded, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in Florida says the claims he made on the Investigation Discovery network were exaggerated — and even fabricated.
That includes Ditullio boasting that he cut off a man’s pinkie when he disrespected the American Nazi Party, the Tampa Bay Times reported Sunday.
“It was a fairy tale story,” Lt. Eric Seltzer told the Tampa Bay Times. “He manipulated (the show) into helping them give him street credit that’s not deserved so he can look like a b–a– in prison.”
The episode features Ditullio recounting his life through reenactments — escaping from a broken home in New Jersey and eventually landing in New Port Richey, Fla., where he befriended the American Nazis on Teak Street.
During an outdoor party in 2005, Ditullio, who was high on Xanax and alcohol, said his group was approached by a homeless man asking for a drink.
The man’s presence upset Ditullio and he snapped, according to the show’s narrator.
“I remember waking up and I had him by his beard and I was slamming his head into the concrete,” said Ditullio, sporting a number of facial tattoos.
“I remember the (neo-Nazi) brothers pulling me off of him, and I had chunks of blood and hair in my hands,” he added.
When the beating was over, the back of the man’s head was “caved in,” according to Ditullio.
After a passerby found the homeless man’s body, the program goes on to show swastikas painted near the victim and investigators trying to question local American Nazis members.
Pasco Sheriff’s Capt. John Corbin said on the show that “investigating indigent deaths is very difficult.”
But Sheriff’s Office spokesman Doug Tobin told Bay News 9 in St. Petersburg that Corbin was asked about homeless deaths in general for the show.
“They never asked (whether) John Ditullio is a suspect in a homeless murder,” Tobin said.
The only unsolved murder of a homeless man that the Sheriff’s Office investigated actually occurred while Ditullio was already in jail, Bay News 9 said.
“They took the statement of a convicted killer without double-checking the facts,” Tobin told the Tampa Bay Times.
In response, a publicist for Discovery Communications Inc. told the newspaper that producers were “just following what Ditullio was saying because (the episode) is from his perspective.”
A Discovery spokesman added that the external production company is “reviewing the matter.”
The TV show’s account could complicate matters for Ditullio, who is currently appealing the first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder convictions from 2010.
Prosecutors said Ditullio, wearing a gas mask, ambushed the home of Patricia Wells, who lived next to the neo-Nazi compound. He slashed her face with a knife before killing her son’s 17-year-old friend, Kristofer King.
Ditullio and the other white supremacists reportedly didn’t like that Wells’ son was gay and she had a black friend who would visit her.
Wells’ son wasn’t home during the attack, and police said Ditullio may have stabbed King in the head because he mistook him for her son.
Ditullio was sentenced to life in prison, but maintained his innocence in the show and said another of the American Nazis was behind the attack.
During the episode, Ditullio called the others “snakes” for fingering him as the murderer.
When police arrived the night of the killing, Ditullio was shown holed up in the compound with a cache of firearms. But Bay News 9 said a SWAT team found him asleep.
Ditullio’s attorney, Bjorn Brunvand, said he never wanted his client to appear on the show and that it could impact his appeal.
“I hope that is fiction and not reality,” Brunvand told the Tampa Bay Times. “He does have a very creative mind.”