Evidence of Lafayette Man Wrongfully Convicted in 2005 High-Profile Murder Presented to City Council


Scott Dyleski at age 16 at his Lafayette home. (Courtesy of scottdyleski.org)

by Robert J. Hansen

In 2005, 16-year-old Scott Dyleski was arrested and subsequently convicted for the murder of Pamela Vitale, the wife of nationally-recognized legal analyst and attorney Daniel Horowitz.

Detective Ralph Hernandez and another seeker of justice, John Fitzgerald, presented a wealth of information to the Lafayette City Council at its April 10 meeting, suggesting Dyleski is innocent and was possibly framed for the murder and urging the council to pressure the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office to review Scott’s case.

“The actual murderer or murderers, are still walking around Lafayette,” Fitzgerald said. “One of them was married to the woman that was murdered.”

Of the evidence Fitzgerald shared, the most convincing was the three K9s who repeatedly led officers to a trailer on the property rather than following the trail that led back to Scott’s house.

“Nobody found out about this because it was never reported,” Fitzgerald said.

In the trailer were pinkish-red water soaking in the sink, clothes soaking with blood on them, and a picture of the victim on them, according to Fitzgerald.

Many key items of potentially exculpatory physical evidence were not properly examined, according to a 2009 forensic report.

“These are items that were likely used by, or associated with the offender during and after the commission of the crime. Flawed methodology and subsequent false testimony are beneath best practice, and raise the specter of potential fraud,” the report said.

Hernandez has over 50 years of investigative experience in public safety matters and is considered a national expert on investigating homicides.

He began investigating Dyleski in 2011, six years after Dyleski was arrested, prosecuted and convicted of a murder Hernandez believes he did not commit.

“Scott Dyleski did not murder Pamela Vitale in your city, somebody else did,” Hernandez told the council.

Hernandez submitted a request to the Contra Costa DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit to review Scott’s case over four years ago.

After a couple of years and not hearing back from the Contra Costa DA’s office, Hernandez wrote a formal complaint about the DA to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

The complaint to the county, Hernandez said, has also gone unanswered.

The Lafayette city council has not told Hernandez what they thought about the evidence he showed them, nor if they have any plans on getting involved.

Fitzgerald said his and Hernandez’s comments to the council sparked a community response that has led to several phone calls being made to the Contra Costa DA’s office.

Scott Dyleski was sentenced to Life Without Parole in September of 2006 and transferred to San Quentin Prison on his 18th birthday, becoming the youngest inmate in the California prison system at that time.

He has since been moved to Kern Valley State Prison.

Hernandez says the public’s help is going to be needed in pressuring their elected officials to take action.

“As elected officials, they have sworn an oath to make sure the government works for the people, including the District Attorney’s Office,” Hernandez said.

This story is part of a rolling-investigative series.

About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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