Jury Begins Deliberation in Alleged WeHo Murder-For-Hire Plot

A prosecutor told jurors today that the owner of a West Hollywood skin care business solicited the murder of a rival business operator she wrongly believed was stalking her, while the woman’s attorney maintained that she was simply “venting.”

Dawn Deluise, right, in happier times, with "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" star Kyle Richards. (Photo from Facebook)
Dawn DaLuise, right, in happier times, with “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Kyle Richards. (Photo from Facebook)

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury began deliberations late this afternoon in the trial of Dawn Melody DaLuise, 56, who is charged with one count each of solicitation of murder and solicitation of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.

DaLuise is a former Frederick’s of Hollywood model whose skin-care clients have included Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Alicia Silverstone, Christina Ricci, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alyson Hannigan and Sally Struthers, according to her website.

Authorities said after DaLuise’s arrest that there was no evidence that anyone acted to carry out an attack on Gabriel Suarez, who had opened a competing skin care business, Smooth Cheeks, near her Skin Refinery salon, which was at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd. near West Knoll.

In her closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Christine Von Helmolt told jurors that DaLuise had an “irrational hatred” of Suarez. Von Helmolt said Suarez became a target for DaLuise because she had wrongly convinced herself that he was responsible for stalking her. Someone had also distributed sexually explicit fliers and posted ads on craigslist posing as DaLuise and soliciting males to act out a “rape fantasy.”

“Gabriel Suarez, the target of her wrath, did nothing to her,” Von Helmolt told jurors.

The prosecution contends DaLuise sent a text message in which she wrote that she had found someone “to take Gabriel out.” Chris Geile, who played three games for the Detroit Lions in 1987 as an offensive lineman, whose name is mentioned in the text message, testified during the trial and denied ever being asked by DaLuise to kill Suarez.

DaLuise’s attorney, Jamon Hicks, told jurors his client didn’t do anything to solicit murder. “She was venting. She was upset. She said some things that aren’t nice,” Hicks told jurors. “She never intended for anybody to die. She did not want this man murdered … We all say things in the heat of the moment that we don’t mean, that we wish we could take back. Hicks urged jurors to acquit his client.

Jurors are due back in court Thursday morning to resume their deliberations.