A Spokane County sheriff’s deputy charged with killing his wife could be home for dinner with his kids tonight.
A judge on Tuesday cleared the way for Tom DiBartolo to bail out of jail and remain free until his June trial.
DiBartolo has been in custody since late January, when he was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of his wife, Patty.
Superior Court Judge Neal Q. Rielly set his bail at $250,000 cash last month.
But Rielly decided to cut that figure in half at the request of DiBartolo’s attorney. The judge also agreed to allow DiBartolo to put up his Medical Lake home as collateral.
Defense attorney Maryann Moreno said she hopes to file the necessary paperwork today and bail her client out by this afternoon.
“He needs to get out. He’s been losing weight,” Moreno said. “He needs to be home with his children. This will also enable him to help me with his case.”
DiBartolo is accused of shooting his wife of 19 years in the head Nov. 2 in a South Hill park. Detectives say he then inflicted a superficial gunshot wound to himself and blamed the attack on robbers.
The 18-year deputy who is suspended without pay has maintained his innocence.
Rielly put several conditions on the 42-year-old DiBartolo’s release. Among them, he must:
Remain in weekly contact with Moreno and the county Corrections Department.
Reside only at his home at 13803 S. Finney. He cannot leave the house between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Have no contact with his two oldest children or any other witness in the case outside the presence of his attorney. That includes women with whom he’s allegedly carried on extramarital affairs for nearly 20 years.
Not possess firearms, drink alcohol or break any laws.
Prosecutor Jim Sweetser originally wanted DiBartolo’s bail set at $1 million.
He argued from the time of DiBartolo’s arrest that the deputy is a risk to flee the area and is a danger to the community. On Tuesday, Sweetser grudgingly accepted Rielly’s ruling.
“You can only do the best that you can do,” Sweetser said. “Some things are out of your control.”
DiBartolo’s two oldest children had asked the judge to keep their father in jail.
Nick DiBartolo, a high school senior, and Michelle Robinson, who’s in her early 20s, told Rielly at previous hearings they were afraid their father might try to hurt them because they planned to testify against him at his trial.
But DiBartolo’s three youngest children wrote letters to the judge imploring him to release their father.
Nine-year-old daughter Lindsey’s request was written in yellow and green Crayons. The letter was adorned with a hand-drawn flower with, “Flower Power!!!!,” written under it.
“I love and miss Thomas DiBartolo very much and want him home with me and us kids,” she wrote. “So please let him out.”
Jonathan, 11, scrawled his request in pencil.
“I guess you could probably think how it would be for a 11-year-old kid to have to go through life not being able to touch my mom or dad,” he wrote. “I already know I’m never going to be able to touch my mom. That’s cause she’s dead. But my dad’s not dead. He’s alive and well, but I still can’t touch him. Plese (sic) help my dad get out!!”
In the end, Rielly decided Sweetser hadn’t made a compelling enough case. Nothing suggested that the deputy would jump bail, Rielly said.
“Additionally, there is insufficient evidence to show that Mr. DiBartolo will likely commit a violent crime if released,” the judge wrote.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
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