12 Years Later, DiBartolo Still Fighting For Freedom

SPOKANE – Convicted murderer and former sheriff’s deputy Tom DiBartolo has started a letter writing campaign to local officials as he “fights for his freedom.”

It’s been almost 12 years since a Spokane jury convicted DiBartolo of shooting his wife Patti in the head in Lincoln Park. DiBartolo claimed the couple was mugged but investigators proved DiBartolo planned the killing to turn a profit.

DiBartolo, who is now almost half way through his 26 year sentence, has been serving his murder sentence at a prison in Rhode Island for his safety as a former law enforcement officer behind bars, but the distance hasn’t prevented him from keeping up a healthy correspondence with local officials.

Because DiBartolo makes $2 a day one letter campaign late last year resulted in convincing a Spokane judge to declare him indigent. In another letter he asked his former attorney for help in getting the police reports to his case.

The letters he’s written also reveal DiBartolo injured his shoulder in prison but Washington state officials refuse to pay for his surgery.

In his latest letter-writing flurry deals with his announcement to appeal his murder conviction to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Among other things he claims ineffective counsel, juror misconduct and false evidence as part of his grounds for an appeal.

For example DiBartolo’s murder weapon was never found and in a letter to a gun manufacturer DiBartolo says the state used a vastly different gun for ballistic comparisons.

DiBartolo has also written a letter to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich asking him to re-poen the murder investigation into his wife’s killing.

Sheriff Knezovich declined DiBartolo’s request.