ALFRED — After Patrick Dapolito lost his oil industry job, he applied his business sense and organizational abilities to his newfound trade: Drug dealing. He was successful, but a dispute with his suppliers put him and his family at grave risk.

On March 16, 2010, Dapolito returned to his Limington home after getting cigarettes and coffee from a nearby store. He found his wife, 30-year-old Kelly Winslow, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

That is the account that Dapolito’s defense presented at his murder trial in York County Superior Court on Tuesday. His lawyer described Winslow as a casualty of the troubles between Dapolito and his suppliers — not as the victim of a gun that accidentally fired while a sleeping Dapolito held it, as the defendant had previously maintained.

If convicted of murdering Winslow, Dapolito, who is 41, will face 25 years to life in prison.

During the months leading up to the shooting, Dapolito feared he could be killed at any time, defense attorney David Van Dyke told jurors during his opening statement. He dictated his will to Winslow, got a gun, bought a $7,000 Doberman for protection and made plans for them to move to Florida for a fresh start, he said.

Van Dyke described Winslow as the love of Dapolito’s life and said others had described the couple’s relationship as “almost adolescently close.”

“He loved this woman,” Van Dyke said as he showed a photo of Winslow to the jury.

The morning that Dapolito discovered Winslow’s body, he also found photographs of his daughters in the freezer and his laptop open on the bed with the message: “We shall return,” Van Dyke said. Dapolito froze up, became inconsolable and unintelligible for some time, the lawyer said.

It appears that the prosecution and defense are in agreement over a number of events that took place between the time Winslow was shot and when Dapolito’s surrendered himself to Maine State Police three days later.

After the shooting, Dapolito cleaned up the bathroom, wrapped Winslow’s body in a blanket and plastic, put it into a basement freezer before moving it 80 miles to his father’s Upton property in western Maine and burned bloody clothes in his brother’s woodstove.

The defense had once cast those events as taking place in the aftermath of an accidental shooting while Dapolito was in a panic.

Assistant Attorney General Donald Macomber on Tuesday questioned whether those actions made sense if a “phantom drug dealer” killed Winslow. He also pointed out that Dapolito left his 13-year-old daughter from a previous relationship alone in the house after the shooting.

Winslow was shot in the head as she was lying naked on the bathroom floor with a handcuff on her. Macomber showed the jury the gun used and told them that the only DNA on the gun was Dapolito’s.

The bullet wound indicated that the barrel was against Winslow’s head when the trigger was pulled, Macomber said. And a trajectory analysis, Macomber said, showed that the shooter’s torso would have had to have been off the floor when the bullet was fired, which he said meant the shot was intentional.

Dapolito’s story changed six moths after the shooting, which was after the defense was presented with the trajectory analysis, Macomber said.

Authorities working on Dapolito’s case brought in federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency to corroborate Dapolito’s new story, Macomber said.

The investigation determined that Dapolito was, in fact, a drug dealer, he said.

But the prosecutor said that the jury does not have to determine whether Dapolito was dealing drugs.

“Because, of course, drug dealers sometimes kill their wives too,” Macomber said.

The prosecution called its first four witnesses Tuesday. Some testified about meeting Dapolito after the shooting and how he got in touch with a lawyer and turned himself in to police.

Kelly Labbe, a former girlfriend who remains close to Dapolito, said she had suspected Dapolito and Winslow of doing drugs but did not know that he was dealing. When she met Dapolito in a Walmart parking lot, he told her he had been high for days.

Labbe said she didn’t know what had happened to Winslow when she arrived. Dapolito was upset, crying and paranoid – acting as though he was being watched and wanting to leave the area, Labbe said.

“He kept crying. And he said, ‘She’s gone,’ in regards to Winslow,” Labbe said. “I said I can go get her and he said, ‘No, Labbe. She’s gone.’ “

Dapolito later told Labbe about the accident with the gun and she got him in touch with David Sanders, her family’s lawyer. He made arrangements for Dapolito to turn himself in to state police.


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