A juror in the Dalia Dippolito murder-for-hire trial is opening up about a possible "sleeping" juror during the trial.
On Friday, the state will ask Judge Glenn Kelley to sentence Dalia Dippolito for 30 years for hiring a hitman to kill her husband.
Her defense attorneys plan to ask the judge for a sentence of one year in jail which is half of the lowest permissible sentence under the Crime Punishment Code.
It took nearly 90 minutes for a jury of six to convict Dippolito of solicitation to commit murder with a gun. Lee Ann Huey said she was the only juror who initially felt Dippolito was not guilty.
"I was the one who probably was the holdout. The others were ready to go guilty as soon as they walked into the room," said Huey in a phone interview.
Huey said the defense team's argument about how the Boynton Beach Police Department handled the case, failing to record a key meeting between Dippolito and a confidential informant resonated with her and she wanted the rest of the jurors to consider whether the evidence should be thrown out.
By the end of their discussion of the evidence, Huey said she agreed with the other jurors that Dippolito was guilty. She said she could not ignore the video and audio recordings of Dippolito talking about the murder-for-hire plot.
The jurors had a unanimous verdict, but Dippolito's defense team tried to challenge that verdict last week by asking for a new trial. They claim one juror was asleep in court during key testimony.
The judge ruled on the issue during the trial when Dippolito's lawyers asked the juror be removed. Judge Kelley said he had observed the juror in question and said she was not sleeping. He upheld that ruling at last week's hearing, but one day before sentencing Huey admits she saw the juror dosing off.
"I don't think she was asleep for a long period of time. I think she just nodded off a couple times that day," said Huey.
Huey said a few jurors confronted the juror about possibly being asleep.
"Two or three of us mentioned it when we went back there, they go like, 'you know you're dosing off' and she goes, 'no, no I wasn't,'" said Huey.
The juror in question did not want to make any comments.
Now, Dippolito's lawyers are fighting the state's recommendation to sentence her to 30 years in prison. In a motion, they ask the judge to think of Dippolito's 1-year-old son, to look at her character outside of her conviction. They included letters from family and friends making a plea to the judge for mercy.
Dippolito is asking for 24 months in jail, which is half of the lowest permissible sentence. She wants credit for already spending 163 days in jail and agrees to 8 years probation with restitution.
The state said Dippolito was already given a lenient sentence of 20 years in 2011, when she was convicted on the same charge. That verdict was overturned on appeal. The state calls Dippolito's actions "ruthless, cruel, inhumane, and heartless," and said she's "earned every second of a 30-year sentence."
Dippolito will be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Friday.