Evidence Shows Scott Dyleski Likely Didn’t Murder Pamela Vitale, Investigator Says

By Robert J. Hansen

This report relies heavily upon the information found here, a website dedicated to Scott Dyleski.

Scott Dyleski was convicted in the murder of his neighbor, Pamela Vitale, the wife of prominent attorney Daniel Horowitz.

The October 15, 2005, murder was alleged to have occurred during a burglary of Vitale’s home.

Scott was sentenced to life without parole in September 2006. He was transferred to San Quentin Prison on his 18th birthday, becoming the youngest inmate in the California prison system at that time. He is now serving his sentence at Corcoran State Prison.

Defense experts and homicide experts recently examined the evidence which they said shows that Pamela Vitale’s murder was personal, committed by someone comfortable in the couple’s trailer, who used a key to reenter the front door, and who cleaned up or tampered with the crime scene.

Private investigator Ralph Hernandez was hired in 2011 by Dyleski’s two appellate attorneys, Katherine Hallinan and Sara Zalkin, to assist them in their representation of Dyleski’s appeal.

“Scott Dyleski has been incarcerated for almost 14 years for a crime that he is seriously believed to not have committed, with [those] responsible having yet to be identified by law enforcement, held accountable or brought to justice,” Hernandez wrote in a letter to Contra Costa County.

This questioned case definitely cries out for a re-opening and re-investigation of the case, including the activities of the police, the defense and the prosecution’s involvements.

“Not only is Scott Dyleski the loser in all of this but so is the foundation of our society wherein we all are entitled to a just and equal expectation of a fair, complete, and unbiased administration of Justice,”  Hernandez wrote “It is therefore my opinion and belief that the case deserves to be reopened and properly re-investigated so that those responsible can be brought to justice.”

Pamela Vitale was the wife of well-known defense attorney Daniel Horowitz when she was murdered, the accepted general contractor of the new home being built near their then-present residence.

Police initially identified Vitale’s husband, prominent criminal defense attorney Daniel Horowitz, as a suspect but arrested Dyleski five days after her murder.

Horowitz was a legal commentator often appearing on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

The day after Pamela’s murder, Horowitz told the San Francisco Chronicle he couldn’t talk. “I can’t. It’s beyond words.”

Vitale’s murder was featured on Injustice with Nancy Grace in 2019 on Oxygen.

Grace made it clear she wants Dyleski to remain locked up for life.

“If you could have seen the crime scene that I saw after Pam was murdered you would not want this guy out on parole,” Grace told Oxygen Digital Correspondent Stephanie Gomulka at CrimeCon. “You don’t want that.”

Grace could not be reached for comment. Horowitz has not yet been reached out to for comment.

Tamara Hill, Pamela’s sister, said one of Horowitz’s close media person friends was Nancy Grace, with whom he had developed a friendship since the Scott Peterson murder case.

Hill said Horowitz displayed no anger about Pamela’s death when they spoke within days of her murder and believed that he was regularly doing such commentaries with the news media instead of using such times to mourn her death and exhibited little personal emotional outrage.

“He was very much involved with the various news media speaking about the murder and his thoughts on it all,” Hill said.

Evidence provided to defense counsel indicated a rocky relationship between Horowitz and Vitale and that he was prone to fits of rage and violence. There is evidence supporting that she suffered prior domestic abuse during their marriage.

Horowitz may have been having an affair with Dr. Brenda Abbley at the time of Vitale’s murder according to Donna Powers, a friend of Abbley’s.

Dan was seen kissing her and going into a closed-door bedroom with her, for about an hour before exiting with her, according to Powers.

Dyleski was portrayed in the media as a troubled and dark teen that had a history of odd behavior. None of that was true, according to several teachers and others who knew Scott.

The San Francisco Chronicle chose to use Dyleski’s name immediately even though he was a juvenile.

The Chronicle also used a yearbook picture of Scott in a Goth look, the most possible scary picture they were able to find of Scott.

In the preliminary hearing, the prosecution continually tries to refer to a raincoat as a “trench coat” trying to elicit the stereotypes associated with the images that come to mind about trench coats and teenage boys.

Authorities believe Dyleski killed Vitale, 52, on Saturday by striking her 39 times in the head with a piece of crown molding, and that he then carved some kind of gothic signature into her back, the SF Gate reported.

All of this led to forgetting about the police’s first suspect, Horowitz.

DNA Evidence

Over 60 pages of records of police interviewing Horowitz for hours show responses reasonable to consider Horowitz as a suspect.

“I know everything about crime scenes,” Horowitz told police. “I’ve worked with hundreds of crime scenes.”

According to Hernandez, Horowitz backtracks and denies that it’s his element, possibly recognizing his admissions as it would relate to his wife’s murder and the crime scene, evidence, etc.

Horowitz talking on the phone: “I’ve pretty much figured out the time and manner and everything else. I just don’t know who. I wish [detectives] would take the information from me though, so they could get a little more focused. They’re doing crime scene shit, and I’m the one who knows the facts.”

Bloodstains on both the interior and exterior door knob and deadbolt of Pamela Vitale and Daniel Horowitz’s trailer front door. (Courtesy of scottdyleski.org)

According to a 2011 habeas corpus for Dyleski, multiple crime scene photos reveal bloodstain evidence consistent with hand and finger contact patterns that may be observed on both the inside of the front door and the outside of the front door.

There are also bloodstains on both the interior and exterior door knob and deadbolt, indicating that at some point during the altercation, the victim was able to lock the offender outside of the residence.

However, the offender was able to regain entry to the residence without force, according to Dyleski’s attorneys.

Specifically, the contact blood smears on the exterior of the door on and around the deadbolt are significant, as the deadbolt requires a key.

Scott’s attorneys argue the only reason to have contact with the exterior deadbolt would be to insert a key and the only way to regain entry without force is by using a key.

A right-handed long black evening-type glove was found in the van along with other clothing items that were used as evidence against Scott.

The suspected transfer of bloodied glove then contaminated and transferred bloody evidence and Pamela’s DNA from the glove to the van’s location and its contents (the gym type of bag and clothing items) in the van, according to Hernandez.

A Contra Costa County crime lab investigator found Vitale’s DNA on the glove but none from Scott.

However, an unidentified male’s DNA was found on the inside of the otherwise unwashed and uncleaned glove.

“With the described amount of the Victim’s blood attributed to it, I suspect that it was initially in Pamela’s residence, previously taken off by her, and believed to later be worn and/or used by at least one of the perpetrators to also carefully wipe or smear bloody evidence prints into a smudge so no identifiable and clear palm or fingerprints were discovered by the Investigators afterward,” Hernandez wrote.

The fingernail scrapings of Pamela Vitale’s fingernails discovered no DNA found of Scott Dyleski, but the prosecution never mentioned the DNA of an unidentified third individual and the defense never questioned the prosecution.

Daniel Horowitz said his wife had planned to meet a friend at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley the day she was murdered.

Horowitz said he thought Vitale should have left home around 4:30 pm to have dinner before the ballet. However, no “friend” was ever identified or interviewed.

No other evidence that Vitale was going to the ballet was presented such as tickets, tickets charged to a credit card, dinner reservations, or other preparations.

Hernandez submitted Dyleski’s case to the Contra Costa County District Attorney Conviction Integrity Unit in 2019 and has yet to hear back about Scott’s case.

Hernandez has sent evidence to Contra Costa DA’s office as recently as 2020.

A 2019 letter was sent to the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors requesting assistance with the DA’s office.

Last month Hernandez spoke at the Lafayette City Council meeting to bring attention to Scott’s case.

“Your assistance in directing such from your two agencies is more than warranted,” Hernandez wrote. “Fourteen years of Scott’s youth have already been denied him and he still faces many more if this very serious matter is just ignored by all.”

This is a rolling investigation. Contact Robert J. Hansen at hansenrobj@gmail.com.

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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