In August 2009 former madam Dalia Dippolito conspired with a hit man to arrange her ex-con husband’s murder. Days later it seemed as if all had gone according to plan. The beautiful young Dalia came home from her health club to an elaborate crime scene, complete with yellow tape outlining her townhome and police milling about. When Sgt. Frank Ranzie of the Boynton Beach, Florida, police informed her of her husband Michael’s apparent murder, the newlywed Dalia Dippolito could be seen on surveillance video collapsing into the cop’s arms, like any loving wife would do. The only things missing from her performance were actual tears.
And the only thing missing from the murder scene was an actual murder.
Tipped off by one of Dalia’s lovers, an undercover detective posing as a hit man met with Dalia to plot her husband’s murder while his team planned then staged the murder scenario – brazenly inviting the reality TV show Cops along for the ride. The Cops video went viral, sparking a media frenzy: twisted tales of illicit drugs, secret boyfriends, sex for hire, a cuckolded former con man, and the defense’s ludicrous claim that the entire hit had been staged by the intended victim for reality TV fame.
In Poison Candy, case prosecutor Elizabeth Parker teams with best-selling crime writer Mark Ebner to take listeners behind and beyond the courtroom scenes with astonishing, never-before-revealed facts, whipsaw plot twists, and exclusive details far too lurid for the trial that led to 20 years in state prison for Dalia Dippolito.
Readers may be familiar with the various online clips of Dalia Dippolito’s response to the shocking news that her husband of six months, Mike Dippolito, had just been shot dead. In fact, the Boynton Beach Police Department posted the video online the next day. Not only had the police been filming, but the TV show COPS’ cameras were also there. The good news is, it was a sting; the husband was safe, hurried away that morning by cops. The bad news is that the young bride herself hired the hit man and thus was faking her shock and horror. Prosecutor (and coauthor) Parker was brought aboard to sort things out, and she built her case against Dalia by intense scrutiny of her phone records, Craigslist and other online postings, and texts, some of which (e.g., advertising escort services, seducing old lovers) are reproduced in the book. This is an engagingly told, eyebrow-raising story of a nice guy with a bad past; a manipulative, brazen almost-murderess; and thugs, both softhearted and heartless, that is spiced with trial excerpts and the intricacies of Florida’s legal system. –Eloise Kinney