A Florida woman accused of hiring a hit man to kill her husband in 2009 has been sentenced to 16 years in prison — but her attorney tells PEOPLE his client will appeal the case.
Dalia Dippolito was convicted last month of solicitation of first-degree murder. According to prosecutors, she was recorded on video and audio as she plotted to have Michael Dippolito killed. During her trial, jurors heard her telling an undercover detective she was “5,000 percent sure” she wanted her husband dead.
Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley imposed the sentence on Dippolito, saying that she had acted in a “cold and calculated manner.”
No money ever changed hands between Dippolito and the undercover detective, and Michael Dippolito was unharmed.
Dippolito has maintained that she never intended to go through with the murder-for-hire plot. Her attorneys say the recordings were part of a video project that she was doing along with Michael and her former lover so that the trio could land a reality TV show.
Dippolito’s attorney, Brian Claypool, told jurors that officers with the Boynton Beach Police Department failed to properly investigate the situation because they were eager to capture video footage for the TV show Cops.
Dippolito remains hopeful her conviction will be overturned on appeal, Claypool tells PEOPLE. A 2011 conviction was thrown out on appeal. A retrial last fall ended with a 3-3 hung jury.
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“She’s doing surprisingly well, considering,” Claypool says. “She is clinging to her faith during this time.”
Claypool tells PEOPLE that Dippolito’s team has several avenues for appeal.
Throughout the trial, Claypool alerted the judge that one of the jurors was allegedly falling asleep. “She was almost snoring,” he says. “We made two trial complaints on the record, and submitted five affidavits from people who saw her sleeping. Florida caselaw is clear that this is grounds for a new trial.”
If that doesn’t work, the defense will appeal on the grounds that X-rated text messages between Dippolito and her lover — who has since died — were prejudicial hearsay and should not have been read to the jury. Claypool also says that jurors heard unsubstantiated allegations that Dippolito had once tried to kill her husband with antifreeze, and that she had previously tried to hire another hitman.
“There are several grounds for appeal,” says Claypool, “and we intend to pursue them all. My client is not perfect, but she is a mother who didn’t do what they said she did. A lot of the evidence that was introduced was not only irrelevant, but it was extremely prejudicial.”
Prosecutors did not return PEOPLE’s calls for comment.