Greed was motivator in slayings, trial told Trial resuming for man accused in parent deaths.

January 09, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff

John G. Dietz III shot, stabbed and beat to death his parents to impress a girlfriend and to gain control of the couple's 18-acre horse farm near Woodlawn, a prosecutor said to open a murder trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

"The motivation was greed. Green stuff, money, property," said Jim Gentry, one of two assistant state's attorneys prosecuting the case. "The defendant wanted what his parents had and he was willing to take it from them. It's a motivation that has moved people through the centuries."

John George Dietz Jr. and his wife, Lillian, both 63, were killed in their Baltimore County farmhouse Oct. 24 or 25, 1990.

Gentry, making opening remarks to a jury of eight men and four women, said the state would prove through a mass of circumstantial evidence that "Johnny" Dietz, as he was known in the family, killed his parents Oct. 24 or 25, 1990.

Dietz' attorney, Leslie Stein, said the state's evidence would not prove that his client, 28, committed the killings.

"The person or persons who killed Mr. and Mrs. Dietz are not in this courtroom. It's that simple," he said.

Judge John G. Turnbull is presiding over the trial, which was to resume today.

In a 40-minute opening statement, Gentry outlined the state's case against Dietz, which includes tape-recorded conversations between Dietz and his girlfriend.

Stein criticized the girlfriend as being "so slippery I will be surprised if she can sit in the witness chair without sliding out."

Gentry said evidence would show that the person who murdered the couple had to know the farm well, for the person was able to circumvent the extensive alarm system, gain entry to the house without breaking in and apparently used a shotgun that the Dietz' kept in a basement bathroom.

"He knew about the house," Gentry said of the defendant. "He knew that his parents kept keys to the truck in the truck, and that on that key ring was a key to the house. That key ring was found inside the house by police."

Evidence also would show, Gentry said, that the younger Dietz hated his adoptive parents and had told someone just days before the killing that he would shoot them to death with a shotgun. Dietz had been kicked out of his parents' home in September 1990, about a month before the killings.

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