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Mother of Suspect in Bay Area Killing Held

Parent is arrested on suspicion of being an accessory in slaying of lawyer's wife. Her son has been charged with first-degree murder.

October 28, 2005|From Associated Press

MARTINEZ, Calif. — The mother of a teenager accused of killing his neighbor at her hilltop estate was arrested Thursday and held on suspicion of being an accessory to murder.

Esther Fielding, 53, was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, according to a deputy at the Contra Costa County jail.

Also Thursday, her son, Scott Dyleski, 16, appeared before a judge on charges that he murdered Pamela Vitale, the wife of prominent defense attorney and television commentator Daniel Horowitz.

Dyleski did not enter a plea to the first-degree murder charge.

Contra Costa sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee could not be reached about Fielding's arrest.

On the night of Oct. 15, Dyleski was at a friend's house with his girlfriend, according to an affidavit filed Tuesday in support of a search warrant for the girlfriend's Walnut Creek house.

After about an hour, the couple left for the girlfriend's house "in order to have sex," the affidavit said. Before he left, Dyleski called Fielding, who told him to spend the night in Walnut Creek. She said the road was blocked because of "police activity within the area," the affidavit said.

Dyleski was arrested Oct. 19, four days after the killing. Vitale's body was found in a mobile home on the Lafayette estate where she and Horowitz were building their 7,000-square-foot dream home. Horowitz was a popular legal pundit who received national attention for his commentary during the double-murder trial of Scott Peterson, convicted last November of murdering his pregnant wife.

In a move likely to bring the case even more attention, Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred has been retained by an unidentified witness in the case.

Horowitz, who was defending Susan Polk, a woman accused of killing her husband, came home about 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 and found his wife's body. He called 911 to report the slaying, according to authorities. Vitale had been beaten and stabbed, investigators said.

Dyleski was arrested after police received a tip from a neighbor who said his credit card had been stolen, which led detectives to Dyleski. The credit card was allegedly used to buy hydroponic growing equipment -- often used to cultivate marijuana -- that was scheduled for delivery to the Horowitz residence, according to police documents.

Investigators believe Dyleski went to the home looking for the equipment and got into a fight with Vitale, an investigative source who requested anonymity told the San Francisco Chronicle last week.

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