When Dale Pike was found murdered in Virginia Key in February 1998, the police suspected that the slaying was due to a deal gone wrong. They even discovered that Dale had just landed in Miami the previous day to negotiate the sale of the Pikes Hotel. ’48 hours: The Case Against Enrico Forti’ details the gruesome murder and how a swift police investigation saw the perpetrator brought to justice. However, with the court’s judgment still under scrutiny, let’s examine the case and find out where the murderer is today, shall we?
How Did Dale Pike Die?
Anthony Dale Pike was the son of Tony Pike, who owned the renowned Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, Spain. The hotel was known for its grand parties and had served the likes of celebrities like Freddie Mercury and George Michael. The police later found out that Dale was in Miami to meet with a prospective buyer for the hotel and discuss the terms of the deal with him.
On February 15, 1998, Dale landed in Miami, according to the airport records. The following day on February 16, Dale’s body was discovered by a walker on Virginia Key. The murder was immediately reported, and authorities arrived to find Dale shot and left naked on the beach. He was declared dead on the spot, and an autopsy later determined that Dale was shot two times in the back of the head with a .22 caliber gun.
On searching around, the police were able to locate various clues, including the victim’s bloodied clothes and shoes. The victim was identified by a Pikes Hotel charm and Dale’s visa form as well as his boarding pass, which were found nearby. Additionally, the police even discovered the victim’s calling card, which was used to dial just a single number.
Who Killed Dale Pike?
When the police began investigating the murder, the very first thing they followed up on was the calling card. Through it, they found that Dale had made just one call in his entire duration of stay in Miami. That call was to Italian filmmaker Enrico Forti. Through their investigation, the police also found out that Forti was interested in buying the Pikes Hotel and Dale was in Miami to meet with him. According to the show, although the murder weapon was not discovered, the police had their suspicions set on the Italian filmmaker.
Authorities checked with the Miami airport to make sure that Dale had arrived on February 15. They even discovered that Forti was the one who picked Dale up from the airport. However, Forti’s wife told the police that he did not pick Dale up the previous day. She even told police that she could not determine her husband’s whereabouts on the night of February 15. Forti, too, told police that he had not picked Dale up from the airport even though they had evidence suggesting otherwise.
In the meantime, the police suspected another man, Thomas Knott, of pulling the trigger. Even though he had ample motive to kill Dale as the latter knew about Knott illegally using Tony Pike’s credit cards, the police soon ruled him out as a suspect. What sealed the deal for Enrico Forti was some sand found in his vehicle. On further testing, the sand was determined to be from Virginia Key, which led authorities to arrest Forti and charge him with Dale’s murder.
Where Is Enrico Forti Now?
Once arrested and put on trial, Enrico Forti insisted he was innocent. When he was confronted for lying about picking up Dale, he said that he went to pick up Dale but almost left as the latter’s flight was late. The two then tried to contact each other over the airport’s intercom system before finally meeting up. Forti further stated that he dropped Dale off at the Rusty Pelican restaurant, where he got into a white Lexus. However, as the filmmaker had gotten late in picking up his father-in-law from the Fort Lauderdale airport, he lied to his wife about not picking Dale up.
Although there was no direct evidence linking Enrico Forti to the murder, prosecutors tried to show the jury how the sand in Forti’s vehicle matched that of Virginia Key’s. Ultimately, Forti was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2000. Over the years, he has appealed his conviction several times, but his petitions have always been turned down.
In 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis considered the Italian Government and U.S. Department of Justice’s request and approved Forti’s transfer to a prison in Italy, where he will serve out the rest of his sentence. Even though his transfer was approved in 2020, prison records show him as currently incarcerated in the Dade Correctional Institution in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida.