The two men who pleaded guilty to being the "insiders" who helped plan and execute the kidnaping of trash company executive Alan Bortnick last year were sentenced to prison yesterday.
James Henry (Jake) Elliott, 38, of 407 Rhode Island Ave. NE, was sentenced to a prison term of 15 years to life on his plea to kidnaping, and Amos W. Corley, 51, of 2321 Ainger Pl. SE, was sentenced to a prison term of 1-to-3 years for failing to tell authorities what he knew about the kidnaping.
Bortnick, a 27-year-old executive of the Square Deal Trucking Co., was released unharmed after his father paid $250,000 ransom last January. More than $100,000 of the money is still unaccounted for, according to prosecutors Carl S. Rauh and E. Lawrence Barcella Jr.
Elliott, a former Square Deal employe, pleaded guilty to being the person who conceived the kidnaping idea and took care of various details, including providing the guns that were used in the crime and the tape that was used to bind the victim.
Corley, who was a truck driver for Square Deal until his arrest on the kidnaping-related charges last fall, pleaded guilty to charges that he provided information to the kidnapers about Bortnick's daily routine.
Two other persons - Ned McCutchen Jr. and Thomas E. Bethea - actually carried out the kidnaping. They already have pleaded guilty and are serving the maximum life terms for their pleas. Three other persons also have pleaded guilty to other minor kidnaping-related charges.
Elliott, Corley and Bethea had been convicted in 1971 of a bank robbery they committed together in Maryland.
Kenneth M. Robinson, Elliott's attorney, conceded at sentencing yesterday that his client had not been a "model citizen" for the last few months but asked the judge for a sentence of 5 to 8 years.
Elliott has been convicted of a North Carolina bank robbery that occurred last summer, and is charged with a murder that occurred here last summer.
Robinson said, however, that Bethea was the person who thought up the kidnaping and kept the bulk of the money. He disputed the government's charges that Elliott knows the whereabouts of nearly $50,000 in ransom money that Bethea claims he gave to Elliott.
"Elliott ws along for the ride and to make some money," Robinson said. "He never hurt a soul. He bought some tape and made some calls."
Corley's attorney, Benton Becker, also asked the judge for leniency for his client, who already has spent six months in jail pending final sentencing. He sai Corley's only crime was "foolishly responding" to Elliott's request for information about Bortnick.
U.S. District Judge Geroge L. Hart Jr. made no comments while imposing the sentences yesterday.
In a third Bortnick kidnaping-related case yesterday, Judge Hart sentenced Greene Davis Jr. to a prison term of four months. Davis had pleaded guilty to failing to tell authorities that he assisted in what he later learned was the ransom pickup.