ALFRED – Patrick Dapolito was lying on the floor of his bathroom with his wife, high on cocaine and cradling a gun in his right hand, when the gun fired, according to court papers filed to support a murder charge against the Limington man.

At first Dapolito hid Kelly Winslow’s body — a handcuff dangling from her right wrist — in his basement freezer, according to an affidavit by state police Detective Marl Holmquist. Then he borrowed his brother’s truck to move the body to western Maine, where he stashed it under a tarp behind his father’s house in Upton, according to the affidavit. He then burned his bloody clothes.

Dapolito told police that the shooting was an accident, and that he panicked afterward. His lawyer said Dapolito should be charged with manslaughter.

Authorities say the evidence tells a different story, of an abusive husband who used a gun to threaten Winslow, referred to himself as her master and intentionally shot her in the head.

“It looks like a domestic-violence homicide. His story in the end just doesn’t hold water,” said Assistant Attorney General Lisa Marchese, who said she will seek to have Dapolito held without bail until his trial.

Dapolito, 39, was arrested Saturday. He made his initial appearance in York County Superior Court on Monday afternoon. He did not speak during the brief appearance. His case is likely to be presented to a grand jury for indictment. “This is a tragic accident,” said Dapolito’s lawyer, David Van Dyke of Lewiston, after the hearing. “We have gunshot accidents all the time in Maine.” Van Dyke said Dapolito and Winslow were a model couple and that Dapolito has been consumed with grief.

Winslow, 30, has been described by family members as a caring, happy woman who enjoyed baking and gardening. She met Dapolito six years ago, and they got married several months ago in Mexico.

The couple got along well in the beginning of their relationship, but for the past year Dapolito had been jealous, accusing his wife of being unfaithful, according to the affidavit.

The document cited a protection-from-abuse order filed against Dapolito in January on behalf of Winslow’s daughter from a previous relationship, who turned 14 the day after her mother died.

The daughter told police that Dapolito had burned her mother’s hand with a cigarette, attacked her with a pool cue and threatened her with a gun, twice firing it near her mother to frighten her. Police found a shell casing in the dining room wall of the couple’s house at 5 Mike’s Way in Limington.

Authorities apparently tried four times to serve the protection order — the last two after Winslow’s death. Winslow called on family members to help, once asking a relative to meet her at a store in Standish, then called them back and said she was fine, according to the affidavit.

Police said that Dapolito had been charged with domestic-violence assault and criminal threatening in 1998. His girlfriend at the time said he grabbed her in a headlock and threatened her, saying “I will put a bullet in your head,” then punched her several times. When he was arrested, a trooper confiscated a Beretta 7.65-caliber handgun, the affidavit said. The document indicated Dapolito had no criminal record.

Police learned that Winslow was dead when they got a telephone call from a lawyer, David Sanders, on March 18. He said Dapolito had admitted to killing his wife two days earlier, said it was an accident and refused to say where the body was hidden.

State police went to Dapolito’s house. The lights were on but nobody was home. They kicked in the door and found reddish-brown footprints leading to the basement freezer, the affidavit said.

Police gathered evidence through the night and the next day. Sanders called police again and told them that the body was in Upton, and that the gun was in the Farmington area.

Dapolito met with police and described his actions over the previous three days, the affidavit said. He was not arrested.

Dapolito said that he had used about a quarter-ounce of cocaine in the hours before the shooting, and that Winslow had taken prescription painkillers.

He said his wife liked to be handcuffed to him because it made her feel more secure. They slept with a gun nearby, he said. That morning, he took the handcuff off his wrist because it was uncomfortable.

He said they then lay on the bathroom floor; she was nude and he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt. He said his right hand, holding his loaded gun, was under his head near his right ear.

Dapolito said he woke to a “poof” sound and saw that his wife was dead. His teenage daughter had left for school about an hour before, he said.

He told police that he cleaned the bathroom with bleach and towels and wrapped Winslow in a blanket and plastic, then hid her in the freezer. When his daughter came home from school, he left and called his father in Florida, telling him “it just went off,” the affidavit said.

Dapolito and Winslow had been scheduled to fly to Florida to visit his father the next day. Robert Dapolito Jr. suggested that his son fly down and they would drive back to Maine together. He told his son not to do anything stupid.

Dapolito then called his brother, Robert J. Dapolito, and asked him to bring his truck to Limington from his home in New Sharon.

When Dapolito showed his brother the body, he said, his brother “freaked out,” but Dapolito forced him to help load the body into the truck. Dapolito also took two bags of bloody clothing and towels to the truck and put the gun in the cab, he told police.

Dapolito said he pulled the body “like a sled” across the packed snow at his father’s house in Upton, depositing it 50 feet behind the house, alongside a boat. He covered the body with a tarp from a nearby woodpile and anchored the tarp with pieces of wood so it wouldn’t blow away.

Early the next morning, March 17, he drove to his brother’s house. His brother refused to take the pickup back because the bed was covered with blood.

Dapolito realized he had forgotten to leave the bags of bloody clothing with the body, so he burned them in a fireplace at his brother’s house, the affidavit said.

Dapolito drove to Portland, intending to fly to Florida, then decided to board the plane in Boston instead, he said. He changed his mind and slept in the parking lot of the Hilltop Steak House in Saugus, Mass.

He then called the sister of his ex-girlfriend and arranged to meet her and her husband at the Kennebunk service area on the Maine Turnpike. He left his brother’s truck there and the trio spent the night in a hotel in South Portland. On March 18, Dapolito called his ex-girlfriend’s lawyer, David Sanders, saying he planned to turn himself in the next day. Sanders alerted police. On March 19, Dapolito arrived at the state police barracks in Gray to tell his story. Soon after, police found the pickup and got permission from Dapolito’s father to search the property in Upton. That afternoon, they found Winslow’s body.

The state medical examiner described an entrance wound on the right side of the head and an exit wound on the left side. A handcuff was found on Winslow’s right wrist.

On Thursday, police got a search warrant and found that the pickup belonging to Dapolito’s brother had blood in it, a 9mm Parabellum semiautomatic pistol was in the cab, and burned clothes were in the brother’s woodstove. Prosecutors told police to arrest Dapolito and charge him with murder.

He turned himself in Saturday and was taken to the York County Jail in Alfred, where he is being held without bail.

 

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]