A DuPage County jail inmate plotted to kill his ex-girlfriend and make it look like an accident to prevent her from testifying against him in a murder case, according to prosecutors.
The allegations against Joseph Spitalli were made in a weekend court filing, which also accuses him of hatching an escape plan.
The 34-year-old Darien man, who is being held without bail, pleaded not guilty Monday to the November throat-slashing murder of Teymur Huseynli, 31, of Skokie. Because of the new allegations, Judge Daniel Guerin suspended Spitalli's visiting and phone privileges.
Authorities learned of the alleged plot earlier this month when an informant reported Spitalli was trying to hire someone to kill his ex-girlfriend, who prosecutors say had been dating Huseynli and witnessed his slaying. Spitalli "wished he had killed (her) when he had the chance," the informant told prosecutors, Spitalli proposed causing her to die in a car crash or overdose on heroin, even though she's not a drug user, according to prosecutors.
Furthermore, Spitalli talked of ordering a hit on another potential witness -- his former roommate -- and of escaping the jail by hiding in shower, beating a guard unconscious and fleeing through a fire door to a car waiting outside, prosecutors said.
"The defendant told the confidential informant that he has (a family member) who is willing to kill (his ex-girlfriend) but would rather the defendant hire someone," Assistant State's Attorney Cathy DeLaMar wrote in an emergency motion seeking tighter jail restrictions. "The defendant believed that if (she) were to be found dead, under the circumstances, the police would immediately investigate the defendant's family members."
The informant told Spitalli he had a friend who could kill both witnesses, according to prosecutors. Authorities said the informant then arranged a recorded phone call between Spitalli and a police detective. Spitalli told the detective he could pay a hitman from a tax return he was expecting or from money his family collected to hire a lawyer, prosecutors said.
The jail moved Spitalli to segregation last week. In a police interview, he admitted talking about having a witness killed but maintained he was "never really serious and was merely 'playing along,'" according to prosecutors.
Spitalli is accused of slashing Huseynli's throat during a confrontation outside the woman's Darien home. Afterward, he kidnapped and threatened to kill the girlfriend, authorities said.
The woman Spitalli allegedly wanted killed was present in court Monday for his arraignment. She has previously declined to comment. The defense did not address the new allegations.
The court appearance marked the second time the news media have been allowed to photograph and shoot video inside a DuPage courtroom. Guerin granted the request over objections by the defense, which unsuccessfully sought to waive Spitalli's appearance in open court or have un-cuffed and dressed in civilian clothes.
Spitalli faces six counts of first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated battery and one count each of armed violence and aggravated kidnapping. If convicted, he could face up to life in prison.
His next court date is Feb. 27.