POUGHKEEPSIE – The murder trial of William “Billy” Dicke resumed on Wednesday, day three, before Dutchess County Court Judge Jessica Segal.
Jurors heard testimony from Ron Cagliostro, the owner of the van that Dicke and the victim, 35-year-old Danielle Distefano were using on January 21, 2022. Cagliostro is a well-known auto mechanic in the Northern Dutchess/Southern Columbia County area and owns a repair shop in Germantown. He testified that he had known the deceased for several years and had come to know Dicke approximately eight years ago.
During questioning by Senior Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Angela Lopane, the witness indicated that Dicke arrived at his shop on January 22 just before 10:00 a.m. and told him of events that occurred the night before. Cagliostro said that Dicke told him that Distefano and he had been arguing the night before and he took her home. He then told the witness that Distefano wouldn’t get out of the van so he carried her bags to the apartment and then returned to the van, pulled her out, and closed the door, leaving her standing next to the van. Dicke told Cagliostro that when he drove away, “He felt like he ran over her ankle.” He then said he was unable to get in touch with Distefano. Cagliostro testified that he encouraged Dicke to go back to the apartment and check on her, which he did, leaving the shop at 10:30 a.m.
According to Cagliostro, the defendant returned to the shop about an hour later and told him that he went into the apartment and she was dead. Cagliostro told him to go back again and call the police.
Dicke updated the previous version of the story he gave the witness, saying he got out and checked on her when he thought he hit her with the van and Distefano told him (Dicke) that she couldn’t move, but he drove away, leaving her outside. Dicke’s attorney, Anthony DeFazio, chastised the witness during cross-examination. The defense attorney pointed out that Cagliostro didn’t tell the investigators about the second version of Dicke’s story until May 31, 2022, months after he originally spoke with the state police. Cagliostro says that originally he did not want to be involved in the investigation but after lengthy consideration, decided to provide the additional information.
Another witness who is friends with Dicke and knew Distefano most of her life testified that Dicke had called him on January 23, 2022, and told him that he had gone to Danielle’s apartment at 10:00 a.m. the day before (January 22) and found her in bed – cold, adding that he waited 30 minutes before calling 911.
State Police Investigator Larry Domkowski testified that he collected evidence from inside the apartment on January 22 as well as from Distefano’s body during the autopsy on January 23.
Based on the evidence collected, he returned to the scene on January 24, 2022, and collected evidence from the parking lot and the roadway. Several “red stains” were located on the road surface as were areas containing a “blue dye.” The red stains were identified as blood and the dye marks were consistent with the dye used in the jeans Distefano was wearing when her body was discovered.
The investigator displayed the actual jeans in court and pointed to the red stains and also to the large tear on the rear of the jeans. The stains were identified as the victim’s blood and the tear is consistent with Distefano suffering blunt force trauma to her torso. The investigators claim that Dicke ran over Distefano breaking her pelvis and rendering her unable to walk. They allege that he then carried her into her apartment and placed her on the kitchen floor, still alive, and put her in a state of undress to disguise the true nature of the crime. He then left her, with no ability to call for help, and she eventually died from internal bleeding.