Veteran slays ‘witch’ sister with bayonet because of her true-crime fandom
A Navy veteran was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison for killing his sister with a bayonet blade and awl after her penchant for watching true-crime content led him to believe she would kill their mother.
Before he was sentenced in September, 53-year-old Anthony Dibella told a judge in Jefferson County, New York, that he was officially diagnosed with schizoaffective and bipolar disorders in 1994 after serving in operation Desert Storm, per courtroom minutes obtained by Inside Edition, in the hopes that he “might get [some] help from a VA hospital instead of going to prison.”
On April 28, 2022, Dibella reported his sister’s murder to 911 dispatchers, telling them “Wanda Paoli is being killed, she is a witch killed with a knife and awl, and is currently on the porch” of their town of Lyme home, per court documents.
First responders found Paoli dead with stab wounds to the head, neck and face, per court documents.
When officers arrived to the home he and Paoli shared, finding the deceased 67-year-old on the porch, Dibella allegedly told police that he “had to do what I did to her because she was getting in the way of me communicating to God.”
Dibella was arrested after police found his 89-year-old mother unharmed inside and charged him with second-degree murder, assault with intent to cause serious injury and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon
Paoli’s sons, Shawn and Josh, wrote that they hope Dibella “rots in prison with no chance of ever getting out for what he has done” and that their convicted uncle was “nothing to [them] now” in their impact statement shared at the Sept. 20 sentencing hearing.
“He selfishly and violently took her life and has destroyed our family,” the statement read. “Every day is difficult, and no one can ever understand the physiological impact this senseless tragedy has had… on the lives of our entire family because our mother is no longer here with us. I cannot even put into words how much she is missed.”
Instead of being apologetic, per court documents, Dibella followed their statement with attempts to justify the killing.
Due to Paoli’s “obsess[ion] with reality shows about serial killers,” her recent purchase of a battery-powered chainsaw and a minor bruise he spotted on his mother’s hand, Dibella said at his sentencing that he was convinced that his sister intended to kill their mother.
Dibella acknowledged that he “stopped all [his] psychotropic medications” after “attending a healing church service” in 2019, leading his “paranoia to get the best of [him],” the veteran doubled down on his delusions in court.
“I believe without a shadow of a doubt that I saved my mother’s life that day,” Dibella concluded.
A prosecutor objected to Dibella’s statements in court, per the documents, noting that they were “here for sentencing, not to disparage the victim of an intentional depraved murder, here.”
Judge David Renzi admonished Dibella before handing down his sentence.
“I was very familiar with issues that could potentially be a mental health defense – those, of course, were negated when you entered a guilty plea to murder in the second degree,” Renzi noted. “When we discussed that plea, you made it very clear to me that you intentionally caused the death of Wanda Paoli. You described it as unsound measures that you took. Well, it’s more than that. You made a choice… to kill somebody.”