ALFRED — In the late fall of 2008, Patrick Dapolito got a new source for his marijuana distribution business.

The product was superior and the supply was more reliable, but the players were less professional in the way they conducted themselves.

They had a seat-of-the-pants approach to their work, Dapolito testified Monday in his murder trial in York County Superior Court. While Dapolito had a business philosophy of keeping the peace, these guys were willing to cut out one another from time to time, he said.

One his associates — referred to only as “Joe” in court — kept pressing Dapolito to join him in a plan to distribute marijuana without their other partner. Dapolito eventually relented — and ultimately helped to create a dangerous situation for himself and his family, he said.

Dapolito’s involvement in marijuana distribution is important to his case because he maintains that his wife, 30-year-old Kelly Winslow, was killed because of a drug dispute.

His defense says Dapolito went to a store on the morning of March 16, 2010, and found her dead when he returned to their home in Limington.

Dapolito originally told authorities that he was high on cocaine when he and his wife went to sleep on their bathroom floor, and woke when the gun in his right hand fired accidentally.

He put Winslow’s body in his basement freezer and moved it to his father’s property in Upton before surrendering to police three days after the shooting.

If convicted of murder, Dapolito, 41, will face 25 years to life in prison.

Dapolito started distributing marijuana after work in his field, petroleum industry equipment, dried up. He testified that he made his money from marijuana from 2002 to 2007 while attempting other, legitimate ventures, including a cleaning company and an independent representative agency for petroleum and propane equipment.

He turned to marijuana again in 2008, when the petroleum company he worked for fell apart.

Dapolito’s specialty was in sales and distribution. He told the jury that he used that experience in his work dealing marijuana. He noted that he was a distributor — not a “dealer” on a street corner — and made a distinction between marijuana and drugs like heroin or cocaine.

Dapolito described his household — Winslow, her daughter, two of his daughters and himself — as a “clean-cut Middle America environment” that revolved around basketball games, sleepovers and house projects.

Dapolito didn’t particularly like smoking marijuana but said he knew from the time he met her that Winslow was a “pothead.”

They met through neighbors, and she spent the night with him after an evening out, he said. She returned the next night in her pajamas, with a change of clothes and an apple pie, announcing she was staying over again — and basically never left.

The adults were careful to shelter their children from the drug business, Dapolito said, using code words like “Walmart” for supplier, “paperwork” for cash generated from marijuana, and “pastry” when someone offered them different drugs to sell.

As in the rest of his testimony Monday, Dapolito appeared at ease as he described the marijuana business to the jury.

“I needed to feed my family,” he said at one point.

The scheme with “Joe” involved going behind the back of “John,” another partner. Dapolito and “Joe” went to Texas to buy marijuana, and “sort of borrowed” money from “John” without his knowledge.

That ultimately created conflict, not just among Dapolito, Joe and John, but also with their supplier in Texas.

That was in addition to the tension between Dapolito and a neighbor who had introduced him to the group.

Dapolito said that because of their business connection — Dapolito provided small amounts of marijuana to the neighbor to sell on commission — Winslow felt she had to disclose that she had had a “tryst” with the neighbor.

Dapolito said he wasn’t concerned about that encounter because he and Winslow had a “kind of open relationship,” but the disclosure angered the neighbor. He said the neighbor’s wife stormed over to their house and threatened Winslow.

Dapolito said he and Winslow had a frightening summer of 2009, after “Joe” and Dapolito cut out “John.”

Dapolito was nervous about some of his conversations with his associates, he testified. He got some unsettling text messages. The family started hearing strange noises around the house.

Dapolito said he made attempts to smooth over the situation but also got a gun, bought a Doberman pinscher for protection and wrote out a draft of a will.

Dapolito said the threats were not openly articulated to him. “That’s not how things were done,” he said.

Dapolito has not yet testified about the day of Winslow’s death. He is expected to resume his testimony this morning.

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