A former Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy convicted in 1997 of murdering his wife has been released by the Department of Corrections and is expected to return to Spokane this week.
Thomas DiBartolo, now 65, killed Patty DiBartolo, 39, in upper Lincoln Park. He served most of his sentence in a prison on the East Coast. Last summer, he was transferred to a work-release facility in Yakima.
After his release Tuesday, DiBartolo was required to report for community supervision.
A jury convicted DiBartolo of first-degree murder for the Nov. 2, 1996, shooting death.
He claimed that he and his wife were walking in Lincoln Park on the South Hill when two men, one he described as a young black man, attempted to rob them at gunpoint.
Patty DiBartolo was shot in the back of the head, and DiBartolo had a superficial gunshot wound. Prosecutors later argued the off-duty deputy’s injuries were part of his attempt to cover up the crime.
He continues to claim his innocence.
In November, DiBartolo appeared in Spokane County Superior Court for a hearing on his release date. When he was sentenced, the law mandated that people convicted of serious crimes had to serve their sentence before becoming eligible for two years of community custody.
The community custody portion on DiBartolo’s sentencing form was left blank, but Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel called that an “error by omission.”
Under Judge Hazel’s ruling, DiBartolo is now required to complete two years of community supervision.
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