A 70-year-old woman will spend 20 to 40 years in prison for fatally stabbing a man in Ardmore in June using a 16-inch blade she had concealed inside her cane.

Renee DiPietro, 70, was found guilty of third-degree murder at her trial in February for the killing of 31-year-old Michael Sides. DiPietro had intervened in a fight between Sides and her son, who had earlier been kicked out of a bar for allegedly punching one of Sides’ friends, prosecutors said.

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Around 1:30 a.m. on June 10, police found Sides wounded at the intersection of Cricket Avenue and Cricket Terrace. He had been stabbed in the chest and died at a hospital about an hour later.

Investigators learned that DiPietro’s son had called his parents for a ride home shortly after midnight. But as he tried to get into his mother’s car, he was attacked by Sides and a fist fight ensued.

Surveillance video showed Renee get out of the car and strike Sides multiple times with a black cane, police said. When the sheath of the blade fell off, DiPietro stabbed Sides once in the chest. The video showed Renee DiPietro attempt to remove the license plate from the back of her car before she got in and her husband drove away from the scene, according to prosecutors. The DiPietros didn’t offer Sides help or call 911.

When DiPietro was arrested at her home in Philadelphia the morning after the stabbing, she turned the knife over to police and said she had also taken a baseball bat with her when she and her husband went to pick up their son.

During the trial, DiPietro’s attorney argued that DiPietro was acting in self-defense. Montgomery County prosecutors claimed that because Sides was unarmed, DiPietro’s use of her knife was disproportionate and excessive.

After her conviction, DiPietro said she didn’t agree with the verdict reached by the jury and insisted she was only protecting her son.

“It was wrong,” DiPietro said. “If it was their child, what would they do?”

Michael Tanenbaum

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