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Thread: Reinvestigation of Dylan McDermott's mom death uncovers murderer & police cover-up

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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Default Reinvestigation of Dylan McDermott's mom death uncovers murderer & police cover-up

    Actor Dylan McDermott solves mystery of mother's tragic murder 45 years later and discovers POLICE covered it up


    By Hannah Rand
    PUBLISHED: 16:23, 25 June 2012 | UPDATED: 19:09, 25 June 2012



    Actor Dylan McDermott has solved the mystery of his mother's violent murder 45 years after it happened.
    The actor, who won a Golden Globe for his role in The Practice and starred in the 1993 movie In the Line of Fire with Clint Eastwood, was just five years old when the death occurred.
    Diane McDermott died of a gunshot wound to the head in February 1967.


    Mystery solved: Actor Dylan McDermott's mother was shot in the head by her gangster boyfriend in 1967. The suspect was the son of a local jailer and a police informant and was never charged with the crime


    Dylan McDermott, now 50, was a key witness, although he didn't actually see the shooting.

    Despite the cold, he was outside the family home in Waterbury, Connecticut, at the time as he had been kicked out by his mother's boyfriend, known gangster and heroin addict John Sponza, reports the Republican-American.
    He heard shouting and a gunshot.
    The police and an ambulance arrived and his mother was carried out on a stretcher with a fatal gun wound to her heavily-bandaged head.


    For four decades, Diane McDermott's death was classified as an accidental shooting.However, in 2011 McDermott, whose real name is Mark, contacted the police with questions and requested that the cold case be reopened.
    Superintendent Michael Gugliotti, Detective Richard Baxter and Lieutenant Gary Pelosi from the Waterbury Police Department began to re-interview sources.
    At first the investigation was hampered by the fact that the official files and pictures from the time were lost or had disappeared.





    Triumph over tragedy: McDermott won a Golden Globe for his role on The Practice in 1999, 32 years after the death of his mother, Diane McDermott [right] in 1967

    And their main suspect, Sponza, was not available for questioning as he was found dead in 1972.
    His body was discovered in the trunk of a car in a Massachusetts grocery store parking lot, reports the Huffington Post.
    However, by re-interviewing protected informants and reviewing press clips, Gugliotti and his co-workers began to unravel the mystery and deduced that Sponza had murdered Ms McDermott.
    And, shockingly, they discovered that police covered up Sponza's involvement in the crime and ruled the death accidental.

    Sources hinted that Sponza had valuable connections. His father was a jailer in New Haven and repeatedly got his son out of trouble. Another source labelled Sponza as a police informant.

    Family affair: Dylan McDermott [left] was only five years old and his sister Robin Herrera [right] was just seven months old when their mother tragically died. Here they are pictured with their biological father, Richard

    Initially, the gangster told police that he'd been cleaning a .32 calibre pistol in the kitchen while Ms McDermott was preparing supper.
    He then told the lead investigator, chief inspector Henry Byrnes, that Diane McDermott had committed suicide by taking the gun into the pantry with her. Although the wound was to the left-hand side of the back of her head and Ms McDermott was right-handed so such a death would have been impossible.

    The inspector Henry Byrnes was fired from the department some years after the accidental death ruling, although no official reason was given for his departure.
    John Sponza was a violent man, who associated and worked with gangsters, and who should have been in prison long before the death of Diane McDermott.

    Family home: Diane McDermott was in the kitchen pantry when she was shot. This picture was taken by Waterbury police when they reopened the case in 2011

    His first offense, involving theft and drugs was when he was just 15 years old. He once pistol-whipped a man in a medical clinic and also allegedly shot someone in the face by sitting on them first to pin them down.
    Sponza's ex-wife, Naomi Miller, told police that the five foot, seven inches-tall heavily tattooed man was a key player in a Goodfellas-style gangster scene.
    He would count thousands in cash stolen from bank robberies, taking trips to Rhode Island to launder the loot to the tune of $200,000.
    He also was frequently violent towards Ms McDermott, says her closest friend Sharon Rotella, now 66 years old.
    Rest in peace: When police reopened the files in 2011 and discovered that the murder had been covered up, they took this picture of the family home

    Sponza would scream at Ms McDermott, make her lift up her dress in front of his friends and choke her when she didn't move fast enough to get his cigarettes, one witness told police.
    'I think Dee Dee stayed with him because she was terrorised,' said Ms Rotella.
    The young Dylan McDermott was also terrified of his mother's boyfriend.
    Ms Rotella told the paper that Sponza stuck a gun in the boy's face and hit and yelled at him.
    But Diane McDermott did as much as she could to protect her son.
    She told Sponza that the boy's father, Richard McDermott, who had served time in jail and would later become a restauranteur, would kill Sponza if he hurt their son.

    Rotella said that Sponza never hit the boy again.
    Police Superintendent Michael Gugliotti was shocked about the abuse the family suffered.
    'Sponza [told] the police that night that he very rarely, if ever, had arguments, yet everyone we spoke to, including Dylan, who was only five at the time, remembered very violent, vicious arguments,' he said.
    'Dylan vividly recalls the amount of times, not only flashing the gun, but pointing it at the kid, saying "Shut up and get out of here". He's still probably traumatized by that,' he said.
    Police told the newspaper how McDermott shared his reason for wanting to investigate his mother's death so long after it occurred.

    'He said, "In order for me to survive and to get where I am today, I needed to bury that moment in my life deep within myself."

    'He said it wasnít until recently "that Iíve come to the point in my life where Iím able to begin to process all of this."'
    The ruling concludes forty years of mystery for McDermott, who didn't find out his mother was dead for a whole year after she died.

    His grandmother, Avis Marino, who he and his seven-month-old sister Robin Herrera went to live with, wanted to shelter them from the tragic event and told them their mother was in hospital.

    McDermott, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for over 20 years and who briefly dated Julia Roberts after starring with her in Steel Magnolias, declined to comment to the newspaper about the investigation.
    After living with his grandmother, he was adopted by Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues and the third wife of his father, Richard, when he was 15.
    Ms Ensler encouraged her charge to follow his dreams of acting, writing roles for him in her plays.

    When she suffered a miscarriage, McDermott took the name she had planned for her unborn child, Dylan.

    He has two daughters, Colette who was born in 1996 and Charlotte Rose who is seven years old, with actress Shiva Afshar Rose who he married in 1995.

    McDermott and Ms Rose filed for divorce in May 2008.
    He is currently dating actress Shasi Wells.


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    Last edited by Novice; June 25th, 2012 at 06:05 PM.
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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    No offense, didn't sound like that much of a mystery. Just no one had ever been charged.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    terrible thing that happened to him.

    but he's one of those celebs i can't stand, for absolutely no reason. something just makes me want to slap him.
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    Elite Member Ravenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    he's one of those celebs i can't stand, for absolutely no reason. something just makes me want to slap him.
    I have no thoughts on him as a person, but as an actor he has the same effect on me. I can't stand him and want bad things to happen to his characters and I don't know why.

    That is some horrifying stuff he has had to carry with him and I'm very sympathetic to that.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    I really liked him in The Practice, never cared for him otherwise.
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    ^This and I liked him in Party Monster and nothing else.
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    I never gave much thought to him one way or the other, but I would never have guessed he had something like this happen in his life. It's really sad.

    He looks good, though.
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    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    The Huff Port report fills in the missing detail...

    WATERBURY, Conn. — A reopened police investigation has concluded that actor Dylan McDermott's mother was killed in 1967 by her now-dead gangster boyfriend.
    Waterbury police reopened the investigation last year into Diane McDermott's death after Dylan McDermott contacted them with questions, the Republican-American newspaper reported ( ) Sunday and Monday as part of a two-part series. Mom was murdered Republican American
    He was 5 years old when his mother was shot in February 1967. Her death was originally ruled an accident.
    Police told the newspaper that the evidence they found would be enough to file murder charges against John Sponza, who lived with McDermott at the time. He had told authorities that McDermott accidently shot herself after picking up a gun he had been cleaning.
    Sponza, who police say had ties to organized crime, was shot to death in 1972, his body found in the trunk of a car in a Waltham, Mass., grocery store parking lot.
    The state's medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, reviewed McDermott's autopsy and determined that the gun found near the body was too small a caliber to have been the weapon used to kill her. The wound also showed that the murder weapon had been pressed to the back of her head, according to his report.
    Police Superintendent Michael Gugliotti also stumbled over some of the initial findings.
    "What troubled me was that there was very little follow up other than the statement Sponza had given to police," Gugliotti said.
    "Sponza is telling the police that night that he very rarely, if ever, had arguments, yet everyone we spoke to, including Dylan, who was only 5 at the time, remembered very violent, vicious arguments," he added. "Dylan vividly recalls the amount of times, not only flashing the gun, but pointing it at the kid, saying, `Shut up and get out of here.' He's still probably traumatized by that."
    Dylan McDermott, who won a Golden Globe in 1999 for his role on the TV drama "The Practice," declined to comment to the newspaper about the investigation. His sister, Robin Herrera, said she is relieved that the truth has been discovered.
    "I'm happy to know my mother wasn't mentally ill or depressed," she said. "Somebody took her from us; she didn't leave us."
    Dylan McDermott met with Gugliotti and Mayor Neil M. O'Leary last year while in town for a fundraiser.
    "He said in order for me to survive and to get where I am today, I needed to bury that moment in my life deep within myself," Gugliotti said. "He said it wasn't until recently that I've come to the point in my life where I'm able to begin to process all of this and make it part of his life."
    Police said the McDermott investigation has led to evidence that also implicates Sponza in at least two other unsolved homicides.
    ___
    Information from: Republican-American, Republican American
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Horrible thing to take a mother of 2 small children. Sounds like he found out what it felt like.
    I am glad for the family to have an official murder finding.
    I am also glad we don't live back then, that woman had no chance of getting away.
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    Not much has changed McJag if one finds oneself in that situation.
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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    They don't really look alike but I always confuse this guy with Dermot Mulroney. It's the name. I can never keep them straight. Dylan has the kind of face I just want to punch for no good reason. Sad to hear he had to go through this as a kid and I hope finding what really happened gave him some sort of closure.

    When she suffered a miscarriage, McDermott took the name she had planned for her unborn child, Dylan.
    Am I the only one who finds this kinda creepy?
    What if Superman is psychotic and everyone can see that he's Clark Kent but they just play along not to set him off?

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    Elite Member Ravenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    Am I the only one who finds this kinda creepy?
    No, I also thought it was weird. And I confuse him with Dermot Mulroney all the time too. When I see the name I have to ask myself if it's the actor I can't stand or the one I've never actually seen in anything.

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    Elite Member Lenny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    They don't really look alike but I always confuse this guy with Dermot Mulroney. It's the name. I can never keep them straight. Dylan has the kind of face I just want to punch for no good reason. Sad to hear he had to go through this as a kid and I hope finding what really happened gave him some sort of closure.



    Am I the only one who finds this kinda creepy?
    One of my sisters died of sudden child death (long before I was born). My mother named my other sister who was born two years after her death the same name. My sister is creeped out by the fact that there is a tomb stone with her name on it.
    Seapharris7 likes this.

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