'Best friend' testifies murder suspect asked him to get poison to kill parents

January 10, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

An article in The Sun yesterday about the trial of John George Dietz III, who is accused of murdering his parents, misquoted prosecution witness Thomas Peter Boettinger. Mr. Boettinger actually said that Mr. Dietz "asked if I'd get him either poison or drugs to kill his parents."

The Sun regrets the error.

The "best friend' of John George Dietz III testified yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court that Mr. Dietz often talked of hating his parents and about five years ago asked him to get poison or drugs to kill them.

Testifying for the prosecution, Thomas Peter Boettinger 29, of the 900 block of Virginia Drive in Arbutus said he and Mr. Dietz "became best friends at Mount St. Joe, and all through high school" and even lived together during 1985 and 1986 at a tenant house on Mr. Dietz's parents' horse farm near Woodlawn.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Now Mr. Dietz, 28, is fighting charges that he stabbed, beat and shot the couple who adopted him, John George Dietz Jr. and Lillian Ann Dietz, in their bedroom on Oct. 25, 1990. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty on two counts of first-degree murder.

Mr. Boettinger, an automobile mechanic, said he moved out of the tenant house in spring 1986, and Mr. Dietz subsequently visited him and "asked if I'd get him either poison or drugs and kill his parents."

"He seemed serious to me," Mr. Boettinger told Assistant State's Attorney A. Dean Stocksdale.

Mr. Dietz repeated the request about two weeks later, Mr. Boettinger said.

He said that two weeks later Mr. Dietz "said he changed his mind and not to bother getting anything."

Mr. Boettinger admitted under cross-examination by defense attorney Leslie A. Stein that he and Mr. Dietz were estranged at the time when he had said the requests were made and that he didn't report them to the police.

He also conceded that once he said that he would look into his friend's request.

Mr. Boettinger said he told the Dietzes of their son's threats later, after Mr. Boettinger's release from treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.

Mr. Dietz had a history of feuding with his parents and moved in and out of their home, Mr. Boettinger said.

Asked whether Mr. Dietz had ever said why he hated his parents, Mr. Boettinger said, "The very first time, yes, he did. He had quit his job, he said he wasn't going to work any more, he was returning to the family farm, and everything was going to be his."

Mr. Boettinger testified that Mr. Dietz said, "As long as they're around, I'm always going to be under their thumb." He called his parents crude names "quite often . . . whenever things weren't going quite his way," Mr. Boettinger said.

L "Once he told me, 'I don't have any parents: I'm adopted.' "

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