Shocking murder of Theresa Dalessio by Randy Whitacre investigated on ID

Mugshot of Randy Whitacre
Randy Whitacre will spend the rest of his life in jail for the murder of Theresa Dalessio. Pic credit: Pennsylvania Dept. of Corrections

Investigation Discovery is in the small town of Plumville, Pennsylvania, to investigate the brutal murder of Theresa Dalessio, mother of two young children, in 2001.

Her killer was Randy Whitacre, and his motive was revenge after a perceived wrong was inflicted on him by Theresa’s husband, Douglas.

On October 6, 2001, at approximately 1:30 am, Whitacre had been drinking in a couple of bars when he decided to drive to the Dalessio home armed with a pistol-grip 12-gauge shotgun. Once he’d arrived, he broke in and began hunting for victims throughout the house.

On hearing a noise, Theresa got out of bed and entered the hall where Whitacre blasted the 32-year-old mother with a shotgun.

Douglas, her husband, awoke on her hearing the shots and dialed 911 while hiding under their bed.

The most chilling aspect of this crime happened next when Whitacre entered the bedroom of the couple’s 5-year-old son Dylan and blasted him in the arm with his shotgun. Douglas then heard Whitacre call out, “does anyone else want some of this?”

Whitacre then fled the scene, and the cops arrived just a few minutes later.

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Dylan recovered from his injuries; a doctor would later testify that he had been approximately 15 minutes away from bleeding to death when he was found. Tragically, Theresa succumbed to her injuries.

Witnesses had spotted Whitacre on his way to Dalessio home

Whitacre was put in the frame for the murder after three volunteer firefighters said they had seen his pick up truck driving in the direction of the Dalessio home just before 1:30 am and then saw the same truck drive away from the house after the shootings.

Further evidence against Whitacre came in the form of two shotgun shells found at the crime scene, which were a match for his shotgun.

Whitacre’s motive was that he believed Douglas Dalessio had sold him a house with a faulty sewage system. He had filed a lawsuit against Dalessio, which had ended without resolution just two days before the murder.

At his trial, Whitacre’s defense team pointed to the lack of fingerprints or other more tangible evidence that could place him at the scene of the crime. They even tried to shift the focus of blame onto Douglas.

However, in January 2003, a jury sided with the prosecution, and Whitacre was found guilty of first-degree murder, attempted homicide, aggravated assault, and burglary. He was given a mandatory life sentence combined with another 24 to 50 years in prison.

In 2005 Whitacre’s appeal was rejected, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania affirmed his sentence.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more shocking crimes profiled on ID.

Matthew Dubois became so enraged with his girlfriend Mikarah Sanders over a post on MySpace involving her ex-boyfriend that he shot her in the face. He then shot himself in the shoulder and tried to claim they had both been the victims of a gangland attack.

In October 2011, 10-month-old Lisa Irwin went missing from her crib during the night at her home in Kansas City, Missouri. Her parents believe an intruder took her, but no sign of her has been found since.

True Conviction airs at 11/10c on Investigation Discovery.

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