The gunman who abducted the wife of a wealthy businessman from a Washington hotel last July and held her for a $1 million ransom testified yesterday that the scheme's alleged mastermind had threatened to kill him and his family if he did not help in the kidnaping.
Dennis Moss, 26, of Houston told a U.S. District Court jury that Glenn I. Wright, 42, Moss' codefendant and the acknowledged leader of the abduction, told him during a visit to Wright's Houston's condominium before the kidnaping that "he had contemplated killing himself and wouldn't hesitate to kill me."
Moss and Wright were arrested by the FBI on July 21 near the Mall after releasing Edith Rosenkranz, the wife of a multimillionaire American businessman living in Mexico City. Her husband, George Rosenkranz, paid a $1 million cash ransom to win his wife's freedom. The money was recovered.
Both defendants acknowledged in testimony this week that they committed the kidnaping. Wright has argued he is innocent by reason of insanity, while Moss has contended that he acted under duress because of Wright's death threats.
Moss testified that he had met Wright in a Houston bar last summer and visited Wright's condominium the next day. Wright's homosexual lover, Tony Ivey, 23, was shot to death in the condominium a year earlier, according to Houston police and testimony in the trial.
Federal prosecutors have said that Wright was a suspect in the slaying, but was later eliminated by Houston police. The homicide remains unsolved.
Moss testified that during his visit Wright told him, "Tony was supposed to be his ideal lover, but that Tony just wouldn't do right and he told me that he had had Tony killed."
According to Moss, Wright said that Houston police "had tried to charge him with it" but that the "dumb idiots just didn't pursue it."
Moss testified that Wright told him he wanted Moss to help him with a project in Washington and that if Moss refused, "He guaranteed he'd blow my fanny away."
Moss testified that he learned of the kidnaping plans only after he met with Wright in Wright's Washington hotel room two days before the abduction.
On July 19, the night of the abduction, Moss testified, Wright told him that Moss' young daughter was being held hostage to ensure that Moss went through with the kidnaping.
Moss quoted Wright as telling him that to be sure Moss did not botch things, "we took her the daughter three days ago."
"I wanted my baby back," Moss said. He said that after kidnaping Edith Rosenkranz at gunpoint from the Washington Sheraton Hotel, he drove with her to Norfolk in a borrowed van.
About 5 a.m. on July 20, Moss testified, he called Wright's Washington hotel room and reported that Rosenkranz was unharmed.
"He Wright was all happy -- the crime of the century," Moss said. "He told me what the power of suggestion would do. He said I must be a . . . fool to believe that he'd taken my baby."
In testimony Tuesday and yesterday, Wright depicted Moss as a willing partner in the kidnaping. After Moss had driven to Norfolk with Rosenkranz, Wright said, Moss demanded a bigger share of the ransom money before agreeing to contact George Rosenkranz with the pair's instructions and ransom demands.