LOS ANGLES (CBSLA.com) – A West Hollywood esthetician Wednesday was found not guilty on charges that she tried to hire a former NFL player to kill a rival business owner.
Dawn DaLuise, who owns Skin Refinery, located at 8543 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood, was arrested March 7, 2014. She pleaded not guilty later that month to a murder-solicitation charge.
DaLuise, 55, had been behind bars since her arrest, but was ordered to be released from jail following her acquittal.
While investigating a cyber-stalking case that week, “separate information was obtained regarding an alleged solicitation for murder,” according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Fraud and Cyber Crimes Bureau.
“The motive for the alleged crime is over a business dispute with an esthetician competitor,” the department said in a statement.
According to a criminal complaint, DaLuise allegedly tried to hire Chris Geile in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Gabriel Suarez, who opened the business, Smooth Cheeks, near her store. Suarez said he didn’t know DaLuise.
The jury deliberated for an hour.
CBS2’s Kristine Lazar spoke to Suarez following the verdict.
“I’m just at a loss for words,” Suarez said, “I’m at a loss. I can’t believe it.”
He says he still fears for his life.
“It’s definitely something that crosses my mind,” he said, ‘I don’t want to live in fear. But the hate is a scary thing.”
DaLuise’s attorney said his client didn’t hate Suarez and was happy about the verdict.
Jamon Hicks, the attorney said, “She exhaled, she almost jumped out of her seat.”
He said the only thing DaLuise was guilty of was venting.
“I’ve heard people say before, ‘I could just kill this person,’ and they’re not being literal,” said Hicks.
According to DaLuise’s Web site, her former celebrity clients have included: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Freddie Prinze Jr., Alicia Silverstone, Christina Ricci and Alyson Hannigan.
If convicted, DaLuise faced up to nine years in prison.