Hudson Valley Man Gets Settlement After Spending 20 Years In Jail
A Hudson Valley who spent 20 years in prison following the rape and murder of a young girl received a large settlement.
In 1994, 12-year-old Josette Wright of Carmel was raped and murdered. In 1997, Anthony DiPippo was first convicted of raping and murdering Wright. Her body was found in a wooded area years after her disappearance. Andrew Krivack was also convicted in connection with the rape and murder.
In October 2016, in Putnam County Court, a jury found DiPippo not guilty of all charges stemming from the 1994 rape and murder of Wright. The rule was the conclusion of DiPippo's third murder trial. His two previous convictions for the killing had been overturned on appeal.
DiPippo’s conviction was overturned in 2011 due to a conflict of interest on behalf of the DiPippo’s lawyer. In a second trial, in 2012, DiPippo was again convicted of murder.
The Court of Appeals ruled in March that in 2012, the defense should have been allowed to present evidence about Howard Gombert. Gombert has a history of rape, knew the victim and allegedly told an inmate he was attracted to the 12-year-old girl.
The inmate, Joseph Santoro, who was incarcerated with Gombert in Connecticut, claimed that Gombert made incriminating admissions. According to Santoro’s affidavit, Gombert told him that Putnam County authorities were “trying to get him for the killing of two girls,” in the Putnam County area. Gombert named Wright as one of the girls, adding “they already convicted some other suckers.”
Recently, the Putnam County Legislature, with the approval of the Putnam County Executive and Putnam County Attorney, agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by DiPippo by giving him 12 million dollars.
Putnam County District Attorney Robert V. Tendy condemned the decision "in the strongest terms possible," and released the following statement.
It is a matter of public record that Mr. DiPippo was twice convicted by a jury of raping and murdering a twelve-year-old girl. He was found not guilty after a third trial. This does not translate into giving him 12 million dollars. The negligence on the part of everyone responsible for this decision is astonishing—and the decision is reprehensible. It is my strong opinion, and prior courts have agreed, that Mr. DiPippo’s civil rights were never violated. Had the Legislature, County Executive, and County Attorney bothered to take the time to look at this lawsuit carefully by conferring with my office, they would have realized that this lawsuit had no factual or legal basis and would ultimately fail. In all the years that the plaintiff’s criminal case was being tried and retried there had never been a single finding by any court of a civil rights abuse or any police wrongdoing. The allegations in this lawsuit could have been disproven. However, the County never completed, and perhaps never even began, discovery in order to investigate Mr. DiPippo’s baseless claims. They never held formal depositions of the plaintiff or any of his witnesses. They never conducted any follow-up discovery because they never truly began the process of defending this absurd lawsuit. In my opinion, based on the public comments made by the legislators as they cast their votes, the County was concerned with one thing only: money.
Krivak remains in prison.