Pasco County, FL - Opening statements are set to begin in the trial of a self-described neo-Nazi accused of murdering a 17-year-old man Tuesday.
But when 23-year-old John Ditullio, Jr. takes a seat in the courtroom, the jury won't see several tattoos on his face and neck that were ordered covered up - at taxpayers' expense.
The tattoos - barbed wire across Ditullio's face, an expletive on one side of his neck, and a neo-Nazi symbol - were ordered to be covered up by a judge. The court hired a makeup artist to do the makeover, and taxpayers will be charged as much as $150 a day.
"People have received new teeth. People have had their hair done professionally for court," said attorney Bjorn Brunvand.
Ditullio is accused of breaking into a neighbor's home in 2006 and fatally stabbing 17-year-old Kristopher King and wounding neighbor Patricia Wells. Wells says she was targeted because African American friends would visit her home.
All the more reason, prosecutors argue, to leave the tattoos.
A man who claims to be an aquaintance of Ditullio and the Aryan Brotherhood says he was surprised Ditullio would cover up.
"If he is trying to cover up his markings or swastikas," said the man, who wouldn't give his name, "what kind of Aryan brother is he? We are about heritage, not hate, and I guess he doesn't have any heritage, or else he wouldn't be ashamed of what he put all over him for the rest of his life."
Now that the tattoos have been covered up, it will be up to the jury to decide what happens to Ditullio's life.
David Leonard, 10 Connects