Dawn DaLuise was a prominent Hollywood skin care specialist whose clientele included Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Alicia Silverstone, Christian Slater, Ted Danson and Christina Ricci. So how did the 56-year-old land in jail for nearly a year on charges that she hired a hit man to kill a competitor? Speaking out for the first time since she was acquitted, DaLuise opens up to Dr. Phil about what she says led to the harrowing ordeal.
In July 2013, DaLuise's says her tires were slashed numerous times, and then she became the target of a vicious and hostile stalking campaign, receiving 1,600-2,000 disturbing text messages and phone calls threatening her and her children. “They started off harmless enough but strange. ‘Is this Dawn?’ or ‘I saw you yesterday.’ You know, things like that. And I just thought that they had found the wrong person,” DaLuise recalls. “Then, it started to be photos of my apartment. Photos that were Photoshopped of the car I owned with extensive damage done to it. A photo of the grim reaper. Photos of the home where my children lived. It might be a photo of my apartment and a message would say, ‘You forgot to put out your fireplace.’” She says the texts kept getting worse, and threats were made mentioning her children.
Then, she says, the stalker posted flyers with her name, business address, and provocative photos soliciting crude sex acts, and also posted a Craigslist ad inviting people to play out a rape fantasy -- both of which led to strangers coming to DaLuise's door. “He used social media and he used free sex sites to just absolutely place me under siege,” she explains.
"Each step of the way in this process, I had one strong confidant and friend that I could rely on, and that was Edward Feinstein," says DaLuise, explaining that both she and Feinstein believed the man behind the antics was a "rival" esthetician, Gabriel Suarez.
“Did you or did you not solicit someone to kill this man?” Dr. Phil asks DaLuise in the clip above.
“I did not,” she says.
“Why are they saying you did?” Dr. Phil asks.
“They found texts where I was venting to Edward Feinstein. How I felt during the worst time of it while I was under siege,” DaLuise explains. “It was one of those ‘Oh, I could kill this person, I wish I could do it with my own bare hands, I should find someone to take him out.’ It was that type of venting.”
DaLuise continues, "I took it very, very far in exploding to people," admitting she sent text messages saying she wished she could kill the stalker herself. "Had I thought for a moment, am I seriously going to commit a crime where I murder someone? Absolutely not."
But Feinstein turned DaLuise's messages over to the police, and she was arrested. In the clip above, DaLuise reveals how she found out Feinstein was behind her arrest.
“Feinstein goes in to the police and says, ‘She’s doing all this to herself to get at Suarez,’ and so the person that you think you’re sending in to bolster your case flips and says you’re doing all this to yourself,” Dr. Phil says.
“Yes,” DaLuise confirms. “It’s important to note that at this point, Feinstein had tried to get me arrested three times prior to this.”
“What’s his motive?” Dr. Phil asks.
“Whatever it was with his previous victims,” she says. “There was not an ill word spoken between us. I was professional and kind to him. He became a confidant and a friend. I just think it’s pathological. I think it’s sadistic, and I think it’s psychotic. And there’s a history of this happening with others in the same position of trust.”
DaLuise laments, "I just loved my life ... It was perfect. And when I look back, when I’m forced to face these texts that I wrote, Dr. Phil, taken out of contest, it makes me look the way I was described in one article, as a bungling vicious fool.”
Can Dr. Phil help her make sense of the experience and help her repair her reputation? This episode of Dr. Phil, “Hollywood Facialist Accused of Hiring a Hit Man Speaks Out for the First Time,” airs Wednesday 10/21. Check local listings here.