Contra Costa County

JLWOP Inmate Andrew Moffett

On April 23, 2005 Andrew Moffett and Alexander Hamilton entered a crowded Raley’s Super Market in Pittsburg where Moffett approached a grocery clerk, held a gun to her temple, and robbed her.  Hamilton was several feet away at the Wells Fargo Bank branch that was located inside the market where he robbed the two female tellers at gunpoint .Moffett and Hamilton then escaped in a stolen car. Police   responding to the crime scene heard radio transmission of a speeding Camry that had just crashed in a residential neighborhood in nearby Antioch.

After the vehicle collision, Hamilton and Moffett escaped onto the De Anza trail.  A citizen tried to pursue the two, but stopped when Moffett brandished his gun and threatened to shoot him. Hamilton hid in the dense foliage and overgrown brush and ambushed and shot the first officer on the trail, Larry Lasater of the Pittsburg Police Department. Moffett who was thinner and a faster runner than Hamilton, escaped over fences, and hid the stolen money in a garbage can and his gun in a flower pot. Moffett was discovered hiding in a nearby garage.

After Hamilton shot Officer Lasater twice, he exchanged gunfire with other responding officers who were out in the open trying to assist Officer Lasater. Only after Hamilton was out of ammunition did he surrender to then police.

Moffett was sentenced to life without possibility of parole for the first degree murder of Officer Lasater, and the robbery of the grocery clerk and bank tellers.

Moffett had acquired the stolen car used in the robbery to use in a retaliatory shooting of a person who had shot one of his friends a few months earlier. During the trial, Moffett threatened one of the witnesses against him to dissuade him from testifying.  He and Hamilton were recorded after the murder laughing about the slaying of the police officer and the attempted murder of the two police officers. He also supplied Hamilton with the gun and hollow point bullets that Hamilton used to ambush Officer Lasater.

The court of appeal ruled in December of 2010 to remand Moffett’s case for resentencing as they reversed his conviction for murder of a police officer in the performance o his duty, but upheld his conviction for first degree murder in the commission of a robbery. The resentencing is pending as of April. 2011 and the lower court will have the discretion to sentence him again to lwop or to 25-years-to life.

Moffett was not eligible for the death penalty for his role in the special circumstance murder as the crimes occurred four days before Moffett’s eighteenth birthday. Hamilton did receive the death penalty.

JLWOP Inmate Scott Dyleski

On “Oct. 15, 2005, Pamela Vitale was bludgeoned to death in her home by a neighbor Scott Dyleski. The victim suffered 26 head wounds, broken fingers, dislodged teeth. and a  knife wound to her stomach.  As further evidence of the depravity of this teen killer, he had carved a symbol on her back.

Dyleski and his friend, Robin Croen, planned to grow marijuana in Scott Dyleski’s closet, with Dyleski in charge of raising money, according to Croen who was granted immunity for testifying.  He testified that Dyleski used a neighbor’s stolen credit card to order lighting equipment. According to prosecutors, in one of the orders Dyleski used the credit card information for Karen Schneider, but mistakenly used Vitale’s address as the address to bill, and his own address as the shipping address. The lighting company refused to process the order, suspecting it was fraudulent. Dyleski told Croen that he would “take care of it” and, subsequently, he made one more attempt by calling the credit card company.

Authorities believe Dyleski was surprised by Vitale during a burglary of her home. They alleged that he killed Vitale by striking her numerous times in the head, possibly with a rock, and then carved a symbol into her back. During the trial, Prosecutor Harold Jewett tried to establish that the symbol found on the victim’s back closely resembled the letter “H” in the word “hate” from a bumper sticker reading “I’m for the separation of Church and Hate”, which was seized from Dyleski’s bedroom The coroner’s autopsy report describes the marks on Vitale’s back as an “H-shaped figure cut into skin of posterior torso” and “3 intersecting superficial incisions…forming an H.  His mother was accused of helping her son destroy evidence, but the charge was dropped under the condition that she testifies truthfully

Scott Dyleski was found guilty of first-degree murder, the special circumstance of murder in the commission of a first-degree residential burglary, first-degree residential burglary and an enhancement for using a dangerous weapon to bludgeon Vitale. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After sentencing, he was held in juvenile hall for about a month until his 18th birthday on October 30, 2006.

At sentencing, Judge Zuniga told Dyleski “The symbol carved into her back by you showed you were proud of your work,” Before he left the crime scene, Dyleski took a sip from Vitale’s water bottle and washed his knife in the bathtub, leaving behind bloody smears. A black face mask, gloves, shirt and trench coat – which were later found in Dyleski’s duffel bag – were stained with a mixture of his and Vitale’s blood. The teen also left his shoeprint at the crime scene, and evidence of his DNA was found on Vitale’s foot.