SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A motion for a new trial and possible sentencing was set Tuesday for March 5 for a Mira Mesa man convicted of murdering his wife in their home last year.
David Patrick Ditto, 44, was convicted in October of first-degree murder in the death of 38-year-old Karina Ditto.
The defendant told authorities that his wife was injured in a fall down a flight of stairs, but prosecutors successfully argued that the victim was beaten and strangled by the defendant.
On Tuesday, attorney Allen Bloom told Judge Kenneth So that he had been hired by Ditto to look into issues -- which he did not specify -- over whether a new trial should be granted.
Ditto's trial attorney, Keith Rutman, was taken off the case.
So said he will consider a motion for a new trial on March 5. If one is filed and is denied, Ditto faces 25 years to life in prison at time of sentencing.
Bloom told the judge he needed more than 60 days to investigate the possible motion, but So disagreed.
"I don't want to have this delayed unnecessarily," So said.
Ditto testified during trial that his wife of 16 years went upstairs to use the bathroom the night of March 11 when he heard a cat screech and a loud "thud, thud, thud, thud, thud" coming down the stairs. He said he got off the couch and found his wife lying at the foot of the staircase.
Paramedics and firefighters who responded to the 911 call shortly before 1 a.m. last March 11 expected to see a victim injured from a fall, but what they found was very different, prosecutor Claudine Ruiz said.
Paramedics noted that there were injuries to the victim's right temple and a cut to the back of her head, but there was no active bleeding even though the victim was covered in blood, according to Ruiz.
The defendant also had scratches on his face from his wife fighting back, the prosecutor said.
A firefighter was concerned about the circumstances under which the woman was found and called police, Ruiz said. The victim suffered a brain injury from lack of oxygen and was taken off life support two days later.
Nurses looking after Karina Ditto hours before she died on March 14 noticed extensive bruising on her body, according to Ruiz.
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