December 8, 2009 / 7:04 PM / 9 years ago

Makeup hides neo-Nazi's swastika in court

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Reuters) - A neo-Nazi gang member went on trial for murder on Monday with his swastika and other tattoos covered by makeup on the order of a Florida judge who thought they could prejudice jurors.

The judge ordered the state to pay for a cosmetologist to apply makeup before trial each day to cover up the tattoos on John Ditullio’s face and neck, which include a swastika, barbed wire and an obscene word.

Ditullio, 23, is charged with stabbing to death 17-year-old Kristofer King in 2006 in New Port Richey, north of St. Petersburg.

His lawyer argued in a pretrial motion that the tattoos, which Ditullio acquired after his arrest, could prejudice a jury. The judge agreed but ruled that any tattoos Ditullio had before his arrest should not be covered.

Ditullio could face the death penalty if convicted. (Reporting by Robert Green, editing by Jim Loney and Doina Chiacu)

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