Guilty plea entered in slaying of UF student
Published: Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 11:42 p.m.
One of two men accused in the 2004 slaying of a University of Florida college student pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Friday, days before the case was set for trial.
Daniel Pistorino, 23, of Gainesville had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of UF accounting student Premal Dinesh Dagly, 21.
Also accused of first-degree murder in the case is Frankie Silvestri, 25, of Gainesville. Both men were set to go to trial for Dagly's slaying next week.
But Pistorino instead pleaded guilty to the lesser charge at the Gainesville criminal courthouse Friday morning, the State Attorney's Office reported. Pistorino also entered a no-contest plea to an arson charge related to the case.
After Pistorino entered his plea, a judge granted a request from Silvestri's attorney to continue his client's case, thus postponing next week's trial, said State Attorney's Office spokesman Spencer Mann. A hearing on the case's status is now scheduled for March.
Pistorino will be sentenced on March 19, Mann said.
As part of the plea agreement with Pistorino, prosecutors agreed to a 20-year prison sentence but court officials must first review his background and criminal history, then report to a judge, who will hand down a sentence.
Under state law, Silvestri faces life in prison if convicted as charged in the case. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.
Dagly's body was found about 25 yards from his partially burned Honda off State Road 121 near Williston in Levy County, about 20 miles southwest of his home at Tivoli Apartments on March 24, 2004. He had been beaten and stabbed multiple times in the upper torso.
Mann said prosecutors could not discuss many details about the case because of the pending charges against Silvestri.
But, he said, prosecutors allege Silvestri owed $500 to Dagly, who had been trying to get the cash back. The disagreement ended with Dagly's death. Pistorino was a friend of Silvestri's, Mann said.
Pistorino, according to court records, admitted to investigators he was present during Dagly's death and helped dispose of the body. He told officers the car was burned to try to destroy the crime scene, an arrest report stated.
Silvestri had been living at the Cypress Pointe complex on SW 4th Place when Dagly was killed. After Dagly's body was found, Silvestri was located in Orlando, where he had family.
Pistorino is a longtime Gainesville resident and graduated from Buchholz High School in 2002. He was last registered as a student at Santa Fe Community College in summer 2003.
Dagly, known to friends at "Primo" or "Pre," came to UF from Davie and attended South Plantation High School. At a memorial service held on campus after his death, more than 200 friends attended.
Lise Fisher can be reached at 374-5092 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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