Judge Glenn Kelley sentenced Dalia Dippolito to 16 years in prison Friday. Dippolito was convicted in June by a jury of six for a solicitation to commit murder with a gun charge from 2009.
It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions inside the courtroom as Judge Kelley discussed the sentences recommended by the state and Dippolito's defense team.
The state wanted the maximum sentence, 30 years in jail which is 10 years more than Dippolito was sentenced in her first trial. Her attorneys asked for the lowest permissible sentence of two years and asked for a special exception to lower than to one year.
The judge said the exception did not apply to this case, but at the same token did not believe a 48-month sentence was appropriate for the seriousness of the first-degree felony.
The judge also disagreed with the state's 30 year sentence, saying it went over what Dippolito was sentenced in her first trial. Judge Kelley said he believed going above that sentence would be appear to be a punishment to Dippolito for appealing her case.
There are two mitigating factors the judge considered when going below the 20-year sentence. He said the fact that Dippolito had no prior criminal history outside of this charge and had already been on house arrest, led him to decide on 16 years.
He is giving her credit for 163 days served in jail.
The judge also made comments about the victim in this case, Dippolito's ex-husband Mike Dippolito. Mike Dippolito was called to the stand to testify during the sentencing hearing and tell the judge how his life has changed after this case.
"They've done nothing but blame me, the police department, instead of saying 'okay I did it whatever'," said Mike Dippolito of Dalia Dippolito and her defense team.
Judge Kelley said he found Mike Dippolito's comments compelling. There were moments Mike Dippolito became agitated with the defense attorney who asked him questions about his probation and money he owed. At one point Judge Kelley told the two to take a step back.
Dalia's family and friends did not speak, but her attorney read letters they wrote to the judge.
Her mom, Randa Mohammed told the judge in a letter that Dalia was a different person now, saying "she has grown as a person and has matured into a sensitive and compassionate woman. She has developed a mother nature towards her sweet little baby boy whom she adores. There's nothing more painful to a mother than to know you will never be able to observe your child’s milestones," the letter said.
Dalia Dippolito's attorney, Greg Rosenfeld, mentioned how since Dalia was remanded she has called him every day asking about her one-year-old son and when she would get to see him.
Judge Kelley said all of those mitigating factors were considered but did not have weight on the actual decision which was based on an appropriate sentence to get justice for the victim.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg made a few comments after the sentencing and reiterated why the state vigorously tried this case three times.
"We are going to be relentless in the pursuit of justice for the victims of Palm Beach County and if that means we have to try a case three times we will because ultimately it's about doing justice for victims of crime and that's what we did here today," said Aronberg.
Aronberg said he and prosecutors respect the judge's sentence even though it was lower than the state's request. He said they are just happy justice has been served.
Dippolito's attorneys have announced plans to appeal the case and file for an appellate bond, requesting Dippolito's release until the appeal is heard. Those filings have not been made as of yet.