How Wife Allegedly Got Away With Killing This Man in 1961

'Corrupt influences' aided Frances DiMare, now blamed for first husband's 1961 murder
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2023 10:50 AM CDT
How Wife Got Away With Killing This Man in 1961
Joseph DiMare   (Miami-Dade Police Department)

Many considered Frances DiMare a victim when she died in 2006 at age 82. Four decades earlier, she told police that she and her husband were kidnapped at gunpoint and Joseph DiMare was fatally shot in the head. Miami-Dade police now say her story was a lie. "Investigators met with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office who all agree that there is no credible evidence to support that anyone other than Frances DiMare is the person responsible for the killing," the department says, per NBC News. Then in her 30s, Frances DiMare inherited a third of the 53-year-old wealthy businessman's estate, more than $200,000. She remarried twice, and though she was considered a murder suspect by police, she was never charged.

She told police that she and her husband, of North Miami, were heading to dinner when two men jumped into the backseat of their car at an intersection and forced Frances to drive to a vacant lot. DiMare said she was robbed of her belongings, including her shoes, then pistol-whipped to the point of losing consciousness, per Inside Edition. She said she awoke to find her husband dead in the driver's seat. It was March 24, 1961. Six decades later, police believe Joseph DiMare was actually killed in his garage with his own pistol, which was likely thrown over a bridge as Frances drove. Investigators determined the fatal shots came from the driver's seat, implicating his wife.

However, authorities aren't certain Frances DiMare pulled the trigger. They say she may have had accomplices. According to WTVJ's reporting, she had previously tried to hire a hitman without success. Her alleged motive was financial gain. Amid a pending divorce, she learned her husband had changed his will to state that she would only be a beneficiary in the event of his death if she was living with him. She had been living in Ohio but then returned to the couple's Florida home, volunteer investigator Paul Novack tells WTVJ. He adds the case should have been solved much earlier, perhaps on the very night of the murder, if not for "corrupt influences that derailed the case," per the Miami Herald.

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At the time, police questioned how Frances was able to run barefoot across a gravel road and field to reach a gas station, where she called for help, without sustaining scrapes. A female officer of similar size carried out the task but "her feet were bruised, bloodied," Det. Jonathan Grossman tells Inside Edition. More substantially, police say Joseph DiMare's blood leaked out of the car as Frances drove it, leaving a trail from the couple's home to the vacant lot. Joseph DiMare's son, Richard, who was 21 at the time of the murder, says he's "relieved" but not surprised by the police conclusion. "I told them in 1961 that my stepmother was the shooter and they said 'Oh no, she is not the shooter,'" he tells WTVJ. (More cold cases stories.)

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