'Injustice with Nancy Grace': Pamela Vitale was brutally killed by teen obsessed with death 'living a murder fantasy'
Daniel Horowitz and his wife Pamela Vitale were what you'd call a blissful couple. The two had been together for years, were happily married and were finally working towards building their dream home in the hills of Lafayette, while living in their mobile home in the compound. Daniel had a skyrocketing career as an East Bay defense attorney. He was also a huge public figure after his appearances on MSNBC's 'The Abrams Report' and Court TV's 'Nancy Grace's Closing Arguments'.
But tragedy struck when his wife Pamela was brutally murdered in their mobile home on October 15, 2005. She was found lying in the entryway just inside the front door and had been bludgeoned to death. She also had a carving of an 'H' symbol on her body, left by the killer. Blood everywhere, Daniel had found her and called 911. His frantic call got the police to his home and the murder investigation began.
At the time, he was involved in the high profile case of Susan Polk. Polk's case was one of the most controversial stories on TV at the time — she had openly admitted that she had killed her own spouse.
At the height of his fame, Daniel, who called the cops and was the one person closest to Pamela, became the prime suspect of the case. However, he maintained that he was innocent.
Chaos ensued in the life of the attorney, who was at the eye of the investigation. Being a popular face did not help either. However, he tried to use his media contacts to his advantage, making him an even bigger suspect in the homicide. The police believed that this wasn't the behavior of a man who had just lost his wife. But there was no evidence pointing to Daniel as the killer.
The struggle was deduced to have been violent between Pamela and her attacker and the police were looking for scratches and bruises on the killer's body to tie him to the murder. They didn't find any on Daniel. They were looking at all possible suspects, even looking into a neighbor who the couple had a restraining order against. All leads came back empty-handed.
It was when they were investigating another crime nearby that they stumbled on a startling truth.
Sixteen-year-old Scott Dyleski and his friend, Robin Croen, planned to grow marijuana in Dyleski's closet and were involved in credit card fraud. Using stolen credit cards, they ordered equipment to start their weed business and got them delivered to their neighbor's homes. While investigating, Robin passed the polygraph test on Pamela's homicide with flying colors, but Scott did not fare well.
As it was found later, Dyleski had been fascinated by death, Satanism, and violence and had gone into Pamela's home with the intention to rob. He had taken a rock lying nearby in his hands and had hit Pamela many times before killing her. At the trial, Dyleski's girlfriend, Jena Reddy testified that Dyleski had talked about beating and breaking the necks of children and was curious about how the human body would function without certain organs.
Stuff seized from Dyleski's room showed that the symbol on the dead body resembled the "H" from a bumper sticker reading "I'm for the separation of Church and Hate". The coroner's autopsy report supported the remark and described the marks on Vitale's back as an "H-shaped figure cut into the skin of posterior torso" and "three intersecting superficial incisions... forming an H-shaped pattern with the extension". The police also found a ski mask and clothes with blood on them that he had worn when he had committed the murder. He had been essentially living a fantasy, authorities said.
Dyleski was found guilty of all charges against him: first-degree murder, the special circumstance of murder in the commission of a first-degree residential burglary, first-degree residential burglary and an enhancement for using a dangerous weapon to bludgeon Vitale. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Catch the entire story of the shocking crime on Oxygen's all-new series, 'Injustice with Nancy Grace' premiering on July 13 at 6 pm ET/PT.
Watch the trailer below: