Teen Suspect Can Be Tried As Adult for Lawyer's Wife's Murder

A judge ruled Friday that prosecutors have enough evidence to put a 17-year-old on trial for murdering a prominent attorney's wife.

Scott Dyleski is accused of bludgeoning neighbor Pamela Vitale to death at the Lafayette estate where she and her husband, Daniel Horowitz, were building a house. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators allege Dyleski got into a fight with Vitale, 52, after going to the site to look for marijuana-growing equipment he had bought using stolen credit card numbers and addresses of neighbors, including Vitale.

The ruling by Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Mary Ann O'Malley came after a 3 1/2-day preliminary hearing that included forensic evidence and testimony by the suspect's mother.

Esther Fielding took the stand as a prosecution witness on Thursday, testifying that she burned some items from her son's backpack shortly after the killing because "it just felt creepy."

Fielding, 53, said she threw the items — including an unopened box of gloves, a sketchpad and a cult murder book — into a fireplace after finding them with bloodstained shoes that prosecutors say Dyleski wore the night of the murder.

In exchange for the testimony, prosecutors dropped charges that Fielding was an accessory to murder after the fact.