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Dalia Dippolito attorneys cite sleeping juror in request for fourth trial

Defense attorneys say judge should have removed juror

Dalia Dippolito glances at the camera during her third murder-for-hire trial in June 2017.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Attorneys for Dalia Dippolito have a filed a motion for a new trial.

The motion, filed Thursday in Palm Beach County circuit court, seeks what would be a fourth trial for the Boynton Beach woman convicted last week of solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

According to the motion, "several people in the courtroom observed juror Eileen Ann Castaneda sleeping during critical testimony in the trial."

Attorneys Greg Rosenfeld and Andrew B. Greenlee argue that the court erred in denying the defense's motion to remove Castaneda for sleeping and replacing her with an alternate juror. They also argue that Judge Glenn Kelley should have allowed attorneys to question the alternate jurors before deliberation.

Rosenfeld, Dippolito, Dippolito's mother, California attorney Brian Claypool's brother and two legal assistants for the defense attorneys provided sworn affidavits claiming that Castaneda was sleeping during the testimonies of confidential informant Mohamed Shihadeh and Tim Williams, an expert witness for the defense.

Kelley denied the defense's June 15 motion to remove a juror for sleeping and replace her with an alternate juror.

"The court did not deny that her eyes were closed, but instead claimed she was in some sort of contemplative state," Rosenfeld and Greenlee said in Thursday's motion.

Defense attorneys are seeking to question Castaneda, two alternate jurors and "any other juror the court believes may have information pertaining to juror Castaneda sleeping during critical testimony in the trial."

Dippolito, 34, was found guilty of hiring an undercover police detective whom she thought was a hit man to kill her then-husband in 2009, saying that she was "5,000 percent sure" she wanted him dead. The Boynton Beach Police Department staged a phony crime scene on the day that Dippolito's husband was supposed to be killed and recorded her reaction.

Last Friday's guilty verdict brought an end to a lengthy saga that began with Dippolito's arrest in August 2009.

A 2011 conviction and 20-year sentence were thrown out on appeal. Last year's trial ended with a 3-3 hung jury.

Dippolito has since given birth to a son while she was out of jail on house arrest. She was remanded into custody after her third trial resulted in another conviction.

Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for next month.