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Florida neo-Nazi gets life in prison for murder of teen

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - A Florida neo-Nazi was sentenced to life in prison on Thursday for the stabbing death of a teenager four years ago.

John Ditullio, 24, was found guilty Wednesday of first degree murder in the death of Kristofer King, 17, in New Port Richey, north of St. Petersburg, in 2006.

King was at the home of Patricia Wells, 49, who was also stabbed but survived. King was a friend of Wells’ son, who was out at the time of the attack.

Wells lived next door to a mobile home used as a headquarters for the American Nazis. Wells, who is white, said she had been harassed by members of the group because she had an African-American male friend who visited her and because her son was gay.

The attacker wore a gas mask but prosecutors said blood from the crime scene was found on Ditullio’s boot.

During the trial, the judge ordered that tattoos on Ditullio’s face and neck, including one of a swastika, be covered by makeup so the jury members could not see them. On Thursday, Ditullio appeared without makeup when he spoke to the jury before his sentencing.

“I’m not going to beg you people for my life or my death. I don’t care,” Ditullio said.

Jury members recommended Ditullio get a life sentence and Judge Michael Andrews imposed that sentence. The only other choice was execution.

At the trial, Ditullio said he was being framed by other members of the group. He said he was in the American Nazi compound when the attack took place and said the stabbings may have been committed by Shawn Plott, another neo-Nazi who has disappeared.

This was Ditullio’s second trial. The first trial in 2009 ended when the jury could not reach a verdict.

Ditullio’s lawyer said he will appeal the verdict.

Writing by Robert Green, editing by Greg McCune

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