Angel DiPietro, who is now an assistant district attorney in the very office that once called her an “uncooperative witness”, is a crucial character in this story, despite efforts to minimize her role. Her testimony reflects these efforts; she knew nothing, saw nothing, remembered no details, and took herself out of the equation at every opportunity. Because of this, her testimony isn’t harmful to John, but it also doesn’t reflect the true nature of her importance. Not only was she the common link between Mark, Meri (a friend of hers from home and another party goer), and Albert, but she was also the contact point for those who conducted the first line of inquiry into Mark’s whereabouts - his friends.
But they never testified at trial. Instead, Angel was rebranded as a peripheral character, so the jury never heard the substance of her initial statement, and was unaware of Mark’s friend’s suspicions. The jury was also unaware of the existence of compelling, credible evidence that a young female was present on the scene when Mark was killed (according to the couple who lived at 150 Argyle).
In the days following the murder, Angel told detectives that she spoke to Meri on the morning of October 12th, and Meri told her that Mark woke up John at 6AM and asked where to catch the train. She also repeated this same story to the Fairfield Mirror in February of 2004, telling the school newspaper that:
“I left with Al, and Mark stayed at the house with Meri,” said DiPietro. “That was the last time I saw Mark. I called Meri in the morning, and she said that Mark went home all right. I expected to see him back in Fairfield the next day.”
And according to detectives, Angel also told Mark’s friends a similar story. At approximately 10AM on the 12th, she began receiving numerous calls from people looking for Mark. She told them that Meri gave Mark money to take the train home, which he took at around 8 or 9 that morning.
Meri, however, says all of this is untrue. When she met with detectives on October 14th, she told them that not only did she not speak to Angel that morning, she actually didn’t speak to her that day at all because she was mad at her for leaving the party without telling her. She didn’t speak to Angel again until the 13th.
Mark’s Friend’s Suspicion
More than one of Mark’s friends voiced their concerns about Angel to detectives and to the DA’s office.
Mark’s friend Jackie, who called Angel multiple times on the 12th, said Angel kept changing her story. That “Angel first tells them she fell asleep at Al’s house and then a later conversation she stated that she fell asleep on the couch with Meri.”
Both of Angel’s roommates told the DA’s office the same thing. One of them, Jenn, said she “felt through all of this Angel was never open about what had happened to Mark”, and that she changed her story at least four times:
“The first story was that she was at the house where Mark got killed. The second story was that she was never at the house. The next story was that she had fallen asleep upstairs and she didn’t know anything. Then that story changed to they were all in the house and that Angel left to sleep somewhere else and that Mark was with Meri.”
Her other roommate, Kate, went out with Mark on the 11th. She was at the bar when Mark and Meri met, and told detectives that Angel hinted to her that she was “frustrated that she was stuck with Mark.” (Angel corroborates this sentiment on the stand during trial, admitting that when Meri showed up later with Mark, she asked Meri why he was still with her).
Kate also voiced her concerns about Angel changing her story, telling the DA’s office “Angel also kept changing the time that she left the party in Brooklyn. Her times changed each time she spoke to someone different. She gave Jackie Katelyn and Brian all different times. The first time Angel said she left later to sleep at Al Cleary’s house. Then she changed the time and said she left earlier.”
Kate also told them that when she called Angel to tell her Mark was dead, Angel rushed her off the phone. She moved out of their apartment right after Mark’s funeral.
Angel told another person, Brian, that “she was with Mark and ‘they’ were getting ready to leave and Mark just disappeared and ‘they’ left.” Brian told detectives he wasn’t sure whom she meant by “they”. She also told him she had been at a bar with Mark but that they “got separated.”
Angel testified that soon after arriving at John’s house in the early morning hours on the 12th, she fell asleep on the couch. At some point, Al woke her up and the two walked back to his house and went to sleep. Although Albert had apparently invited both her and Meri to stay at his house, neither made an attempt to alert Meri when they left.
When asked if she heard anything during the night while she was sleeping, she testified that she did not; despite the fact that Mark was shot and killed directly across the street from where she slept.
She testified that “as she was waking up” “around 11 AM”, Albert received a call from John asking if Meri was with them. This was false. Phone records show that John’s first phone call to Albert (after the 5:57 call) took place at 12:56, two hours later (the timing of this phone call is crucial).
At trial, Angel repeated her claim that she had heard that Mark took a train home and was fine. However, she admitted that she didn’t speak to Meri on the morning of October 12th. Now, she claimed it was John who was the source of the information that Mark took a train home- even though John and Albert didn’t speak until two hours after she’d testified they had, and approximately four hours after she’d first relayed this information to Mark’s friends.
Her testimony about the 11AM call is yet another example of testimony that contradicts all available objective evidence. Not only do John’s phone records show the call wasn’t until 12:56, but John wouldn’t have called around looking for Meri at 11AM because from 11:00-11:13 Meri was still at John’s house, using his landline.
The Long Island Trip
Both Angel and Albert testified that part of the reason Angel went back to Brooklyn with Al to begin with was that she and her boyfriend had plans to watch the baseball game at Al’s the following evening anyway. So when Angel realized the trains were running at weird hours, they decided she may as well just go back with him.
The following day, however, Angel does go home, and she brings Albert with her. Albert says that his mother took them to the LIRR at around 2:00PM, which they took to her house in Garden City. He is introduced to her parents, and the four of them (Angel’s parents, Angel, and Albert) have dinner together. After dinner, Albert and Angel pick up her boyfriend and go back to Brooklyn.
The next day, Mark’s friends are interviewed by detectives; when they tell them about their conversations with Angel from the day before, the detectives ask one of them to call Angel.
Mark’s friend Jackie calls Angel’s house and speaks to her mother. Oddly, Angel’s mother tells Jackie she hasn’t seen Angel in days, even though they apparently had dinner together the night before.
They are unable to locate Angel until she gets back to school, pulling up to Fairfield at around midnight on the 14th. According to her, detectives stopped her at the gate and took her to the security office to be interviewed. She is only interviewed one time after that, and is described as “uncooperative” in various newspaper articles.
Neither Albert nor Angel gave an explanation as to why, if Angel came back to Brooklyn with Al out of convenience since she had plans to go there the next night anyway, they ended up going back to Long Island. One has to wonder if this unplanned trip is in any way related to the fact that Angel’s father, James DiPietro, is a prominent criminal defense attorney in Brooklyn.
Angel’s roommate, Jen, certainly found Angel’s interactions with her father during this period of time noteworthy. When she’s interviewed by the DA’s office in July of 2004, she tells them:
“When it was all happening Angel’s father used to call her all the time. The thing that I remember most was that when he would call he would ask her if I was in the room when they were talking. Sometimes the conversations would be all yelling, and other times they would be quiet just yes and no answers. Her father was always asking her about that night.”