court gavel

A Plumville man already in jail awaiting trial on arson charges and his father have been held for court on accusations that they planned for a codefendant to be pressured not to testify about the fires.

Dylan Dalessio, who turns 20 on Tuesday, and his father, Douglas Dalessio, 51, spoke of having an inmate at Indiana County Jail “have a talk with” Nicholas Leone, who is charged along with Dylan Dalessio with setting three fires in late 2018 and early 2019 in northern Indiana County.

The Dalessios were ordered to stand trial on one count each of intimidation of witnesses or victims, criminal use of a communication facility and conspiracy to intimidation following testimony at a preliminary hearing March 10 before District Judge Susanne Steffee in Homer City District Court.

State police Trooper Tyler Thompson, of Ridgway, Elk County, filed the complaints based on information uncovered by Special Agent David Farabaugh of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who ran court-ordered wiretaps of Dylan Dalessio’s telephone calls to his father last fall.

In at least seven calls made between Oct. 4 and 16 from a phone at the county jail to two cellphones identified with Douglas Dalessio and another identified with Terri Good, Thompson reported, the Dalessios’ “conversations … (were) clearly done with the intent to intimidate Nicholas Leone from speaking or testifying about the previous pending arson charges.”

“They have no evidence other than Nick Leone’s big (expletive) mouth. Nick needs to shut his (expletive) mouth,” a man believed to be Douglas Dalessio told Dylan Dalessio during an Oct. 15 call, according to Farabaugh’s findings. “You see what I’m talking about. I don’t want to back into this thing and then (expletive) Nick’s still in there with diarrhea of the mouth.”

“Can you get a word out that he’s a snitch down there?” Douglas Doug said in an Oct. 16 call.

“Yeah, I did. I have nothing else to do. I told everybody going to the lock next to him that he’s a (expletive) rat. They know,” Dylan Dalessio replied.

In a call Oct. 6, according to the charging documents, Dylan Dalessio told someone on the phone named Devin, “I’m moving pretty high up in the world here. I’m labeled probably one of the bad-ass (expletive) here now, pretty cool. I don’t know if I can cause Nick’s over there. Cause they’re scared that I’m going to beat (expletive) out of him. They asked me is there going to be any confrontation between you two. I said I’m not going … to go up there and fight him because I’m not gonna … go to the hole.

“But the guy in here with, his name is Diesel,” Dylan Dalessio continued, the court papers show. “Pittsburgh kid I’m living with now, he said … if they don’t let you go, he said whenever I move to (cellblock) Fox, I’ll have a talk with Nick. I said cool, cool.”

Two state police fire marshals, Troopers Russell Stewart and Chet Bell, last year charged Dalessio and Leone with setting fires on Dec. 18, 2018, to a barn along Route 954 in Washington Township near Creekside, on Dec. 29, 2018, to a shed and garage along Bailey Road in Washington Township and on Jan. 25, 2019, to a furniture store owned by Amish craftsman Roman Byler along Stephenson Road in South Mahoning Township.

On Oct. 15, Leone waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges during an appearance in Homer City District Court, then privately conferred with investigators who then testified before Steffee in Dalessio’s preliminary hearing. Steffee ordered Dylan Dalessio to trial on 29 total charges in the cases.

Following the hearings on the intimidation charges earlier this month, Steffee returned Dylan Dalessio to the county jail with additional bond set at $200,000 cash.

Douglas Dalessio, who was jailed Feb. 23, posted $100,000 bond for his release from jail March 23.

Dates for arraignment on the charges in Indiana County Common Pleas Court have not been set.