Deputy-turned-killer Dibartolo released from prison

SPOKANE, Wash. — A former Spokane County sheriff’s deputy convicted of killing his wife is now a free man.

A victim notification alert sent Tuesday says Thomas Dibartolo was released from the custody of the Washington Department of Corrections. DOC confirmed he was released at 8:15 Tuesday morning.

He listed his primary address in the 10700 block of East 30th Avenue in Spokane Valley.

He’s required to have a job and notify the DOC of any changes to his address or employment. He’s under DOC supervision until February 2022. He can’t have guns or any other deadly weapons and can’t possess any controlled substances.

In a case that shocked the Spokane community and set off a manhunt in 1996, Dibartolo’s wife Patty was shot in Lincoln Park on the south hill. At the time, Dibartolo told police that someone robbed them and shot Patty, then shot him as well. Investigators later determined that Dibartolo shot Patty then shot himself to cover up the crime.

Dibartolo was convicted of murder and sentenced to 26 years in prison. He served most of that term in a prison in the Rhode Island. As 4 News Now first reported last fall, Dibartolo was moved to a work release center in Yakima pending his release this month.

Dibartolo has appealed his case several times and has never admitted killing Patty. He even wrote letters to 4 News Now journalists, asking for information that might help his appeal.

Leading up to his trial, some of the couple’s five children testified that they were scared and didn’t want their father to be released.

Prosecutors say Dibartolo was unfaithful to Patty and that he wanted her dead so that he could collect her life insurance payout and avoid a costly divorce.