Trials & Litigation

State Must Pay $150 a Day to Cover Up Murder Defendant's Tattoos, Judge Rules


John Ditullio has a phrase tattooed on his neck that isn’t considered printable by a major Florida newspaper.

But when the jury sees the 23-year-old at his upcoming first-degree murder trial, those words, as well as the swastika and the barbed wire design above his collar line will be difficult to spot. That’s because the state is going to have to pay a licensed cosmetologist as much as $150 a day to cover them with makeup an hour before the trial, reports the St. Petersburg Times.

Agreeing with an argument by Ditullio’s lawyer, Bjorn Brunvand, that the tattoos could be prejudicial to his case, a Pasco Circuit Court judge has ruled that the state will foot the bill, the newspaper explains in an earlier article.

Brunvand said the makeup will be akin to the common practice of allowing a defendant to change from prison garb to a business suit before appearing in front of a jury.

A prosecutor argued successfully that only the tattoos Ditullio got after his arrest should be covered up, the Times notes.

The makeup artist will have to pass a background check to qualify for the job.

Related earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer Plans Extreme Pretrial Makeover for Client in Alleged Police Abuse Case”

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