S3E3: Three Trials and Twenty Years Later: Anthony DiPippo Finally Cleared of a Monster’s Crime
In November 1995, a hunter found the remains of 12-year-old Josette Wright in a wooded area of Putnam County, NY. She was reported to have been hog-tied with her hands and feet tied together behind her back, and her underwear had been shoved down her throat. Dominic Neglia, who was being investigated for drug charges, claimed that 18-year-old Anthony DiPippo and his friends were responsible for the rape and murder of Wright. Three of the accused teenagers testified against Anthony and Andrew Krivak, claiming that they were in Anthony’s van when he and Krivak raped and strangled the victim. Anthony denied his involvement with the crime, but in 1997 he was convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. In 2011, Anthony was ordered a new trial after it was discovered that his lawyer had also previously represented Howard Gombert, who a witness had reported seeing the victim get into a car driven by Gombert on the day she was last seen. Several other women came forward saying that they had also been sexually molested by Gombert in a similar fashion, with their limbs bound and with clothing stuffed in their mouths. These women were not allowed to testify in Anthony’s new trial, nor was Joseph Santoro, who was incarcerated with Gombert and had heard him talk about raping Wright, along with another young girl. Anthony DiPippo was again convicted in 2012, even though two of the three teenagers who had testified against him had recanted their testimonies, claiming that detectives had threated to charge them with the murder if they didn’t implicate Anthony DiPippo and Andrew Krivak. In 2016, Anthony was again ordered a new trial, and this time the testimonies of Santoro and the other women who had been assaulted by Gombert were admitted. Additionally, Dominic Neglia recanted his initial accusation against him. On October 11th, 2016, Anthony DiPippo was acquitted and released after serving 19 years in prison.
Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava For Good Podcasts in association with Signal Co. No1 and PRX.