Eyewitness Who Refused To Lie Under Pressure Exposes District Attorney And Dobbs Ferry Police
Last Monday, December 3, James White, now residing in Florida, came forward to speak the truth about what he had witnessed on October 3, 1996 at about 5pm in the parking lot of the Venice Deli on Ashford Avenue in Dobbs Ferry. And, what he had to say put the lie to what former Westchester District Attorney Jeanine
Pirro invented, and her two obedient co-conspirators, Assistant DAs Patricia Murphy and Perry Perrone, attempted to force down every witness’ throat through the incessant harassment tactics of the Dobbs Ferry Police, including then 35-year-old Police Chief George Longworth.
On that tragic late afternoon, Charles Campbell, a White Plains sanitation worker, enraged that middle-aged Richard DiGuglielmo, proprietor of the Venice Deli, had put a ‘No Parking’ sticker on his window, the window of his latemodel Corvette, came running back from across the street, fists flying; the fists of an amateur boxer and bodybuilder. It would take the police officer son and construction worker son-in-law of the elder DiGuglielmo, as well as himself, to wrestle the out-of-control Campbell, a man with a lengthy arrest record, and a history of numerous incidents of violence, to the ground.
Having contained him, they foolishly took him at his word when he said, “Enough,” and let him up on his feet, believing the incident was over and Campbell would drive off. Instead, he went directly to the trunk of his car and retrieved a metal baseball bat. Without hesitation he began swinging very hard at the elder DiGuglielmo, who had remained momentarily outside as his son and son-in-law headed into the deli to wash up from the scuffle.
With the first two swings Campbell had broken the elder man’s hand and seriously injured his leg with blows that one witness had originally described as, “so hard you could hear them a block away.”
The bat-wielding assailant was now swinging for the father’s head when Richard DiGuglielmo, his son, a New York City Transit Police Officer, emerged from the store and fired “three rounds to center mass” as trained to do in such situations, each shot entering the body from a different point as Campbell swung.
James White told Judge Rory J. Bellantoni last Monday at the 440.10 Hearing of Richard DiGuglielmo, “There was no doubt in my mind then, and there is no question in my mind now, that those shots were fired by a son attempting to save his father’s life.”
Called to the scene, Assistant DA Patricia Murphy’s notes reveal she was not the least bit concerned with the eyewitness accounts of Jimmy White, Michael Dillon or Kevin O’Donnell, all of whom had told responding police and television news reporters that Officer DiGuglielmo’s shooting of Campbell, “was clearly in self-defense.” Within 25 minutes of her arrival, she already concluded that the shooting was Second Degree Murder.
Thus was begun another prosecution of opportunity for then-DA Jeanine Pirro. Had the bat-wielding assailant been Caucasian, Patricia Murphy might have been given different marching orders from Pirro. But, under the circumstances, Pirro wanted it to be a bias crime, irrespective of the truth. From the moment Pirro stepped into the tragedy with the foot of Patricia Murphy, the “Race Card” would be played for all it would mean to her upcoming re-election effort.
Jeanine Pirro called it a bias crime, so therefore it had to be made into a bias crime. After all, Pirro had called the Louis Balancio stabbing the work of Anthony DiSimone, despite the fact that she had a confession and a bloody leather jacket from the actual killer, Nick Djonovic, just six days after that brutal murder. But she wasn’t looking for an Albanian. Pirro needed someone whose name ended in a vowel; someone who would put to rest the notion that she could not prosecute Organized Crime.
Of course, if Jeanine Pirro said it was a bias crime, the Dobbs Ferry Police, Detectives Ellman, Gelardi, Guarnieri and Chief Longworth, would now have to convince eyewitnesses O’Donnell, Dillon and White that what they reported seeing, an off-duty Police Officer son saving his father’s life from the beating with a metal baseball bat that Charles Campbell was delivering with all of his might, didn’t really happen that way.
Now, Michael Dillon was only 20 years old and surely no match for the cunning and devisiveness that three detectives and a police chief were going to employ. They showed up at his place of employment in Mamaroneck four nights in a row to bring him back to Dobbs Ferry in a police car, like a suspect, sandwiched between two detectives in the back seat. He was grilled for hours and hours until, finally, in the wee hours of the morning of October 8, 1996, he could not take the harassment and intimidation any longer and changed his account of
what he had witnessed so that it conformed with the lie DA Pirro was demanding the Dobbs Ferry Police produce.
Kevin O’Donnell would pose a different task. He and Dillon were working together for T.C.I. of Mamaroneck, doing cable television installations for Cablevision, when they happened upon the tragic incident. O’Donnell, some 10 years or more older than Dillon, was the younger man’s supervisor. In giving his statement to Dobbs Ferry Police, shortly after the incident, he, too, like Dillon and White, stated that Officer DiGuglielmo fired at the bat-wielding assailant, Charles Campbell, “in self defense.” However, for whatever foolish reason, O’Donnell attempted to embellish his role, claiming initially that he had gotten out of the van in which he was seated with Dillon in an effort to disarm Campbell.
That unecessary embellishment, which was quickly discovered to be untrue, placed O’Donnell at the mercy of
the Dobbs Ferry Police. Additionally, O’Donnell’s wife was an officer with the Yonkers Police Department at
the time. And, the combination of those factors simplified the task of getting O’Donnell to change his original account of the incident.
Jimmy White, who testified last Monday, posed a very different problem. White was the son of a former FBI agent who, at the time of the killing, was 76 and in poor health. His father had made it clear that he did not want Jimmy, a schoolteacher at Morris High School in the Bronx, to testify. To make matters more difficult for White, he had three brothers, one of whom was also an FBI agent like their dad; another who was an Assistant District Attorney in Pirro’s office, and a third, who was then, and still is now, a police officer in the Dobbs Ferry Department.
To his credit, despite pressure from his father, as well as his brothers, not to speak with Defense lawyers, as well as the pressure of several interrogation sessions by the Dobbs Ferry Police, similar to what had been used against Dillon, Jimmy White, nevertheless, never altered his account of what he had witnessed. In giving his account last Monday before Judge Rory Bellantoni, he not only supported Dillon’s original statement to the police, but also supported Dillon’s testimony several days earlier, describing repeated interrogations for many hours by Dobbs Ferry Police, three between his so-called “first statement” of October 3, and “second statement” at one o’clock in the morning of October 8, 1996.
White’s testimony was very damaging and impeaching to the prior testimony of Detective Guarnieri and Assistant DA Patricia Murphy as well; Guarnieri, having insisted that neither Dillon, O’Donnell, nor White were ever repeatedly interrogated between their October 3 and October 8 statements. Patricia Murphy had told the Court that she did not become involved with the witnesses until October 12 and yet, Mr. White testified that on October 11 Murphy’s partner, ADA Perry Perrone, had tried repeatedly to get him to change his statement, specifically to say that he had heard racial epithets. White refused to be budged.
Truth be told, Officer Richard DiGuglielmo was not the only innocent person railroaded into prison by the Westchester DA’s Office in conspiracy with the Dobbs Ferry Police Department under Chief Longworth. Steven Nowicki, a former Dobbs Ferry teacher, is serving 16 years for an alleged sodomy of a child that never even occurred, but was the invention of the child’s mother, a woman who was upset that she couldn’t persuade Nowicki to become involved with her, despite more than 20 emails she had sent him that the Westchester
District Attorney’s Office made disappear.
Robert DeRosario, a convicted pedophile, but neither a kidnapper nor a murderer, was convicted little more than two years ago of the kidnapping and murder of Orlandito Maldonado Rosario, a 12-year-old boy whose body was found buried in a shallow grave near the Saw Mill River Parkway in Dobbs Ferry, despite the fact that more than five years of investigation produced not one shred of material evidence linking DeRosario to the crime.
DeRosario’s van, which was described differently by each of four “jailhouse snitches” as being involved in the crime, was actually off the road and out of operation at a diagnostic auto repair shop in Brooklyn for several days prior to and following the date of the victim’s death.
For 12 long years, Jeanine Pirro made up the stories as she went along. She had no difficulty getting 42 different police departments to dance to her tune. Dobbs Ferry was just one, if perhaps one of the more willing, of several departments that knowingly helped to convict and send to prison innocent people.
The present DA, having spent six years under Pirro (1994-2000), is well aware of literally scores of innocent persons, many still in prison, for crimes they did not commit. In two years in office as DA, she has shown
little willingness to undo the horrific injustice visited upon persons such as Richard DiGuglielmo, Anthony DiSimone, Steven Nowicki, Jing Kelly, Selwyn Days, Kareem Bryan, Matthew McKerrick, and the family of Robert Viscome, as well as many others. On the contrary, the prosecutorial misconduct practiced under Pirro, continues today, and the Practicioners of Injustice, whose mindless, evil conduct has caused much misery in exchange for two paychecks a month, remain in that office.