Two friends of Johnny Dietz, who is accused of killing his adoptive parents in October 1990, have testified that their friend often spoke of hating his parents and once asked for poison to put in their food or drink.
"John came in and he asked me if I could get poison or drugs to kill his parents," testified Thomas P. Boettinger, a friend of Dietz's since high school. "He seemed serious to me."
In the second day of a murder trial in Baltimore County Circuit Court, Kathy Coughenour, another friend of Dietz's, testified that she was present when Dietz asked for the poison.
She said he wanted something to put in their food or drink that "wouldn't show up in an autopsy."
That incident, which happened in 1986, was allowed into evidence by Judge John G. Turnbull over protests from the defense attorney, who argued that the threats were too remote in time to have any relevance to the 1990 killings.
Dietz, 28, is on trial in the shotgun slayings of his parents, John George Dietz Jr. and Lillian Dietz, both 63. The two were found slain in their farmhouse bedroom Oct. 28, 1990.
In cross examination, Leslie Stein, Dietz's attorney, attacked Boettinger and Coughenour, who claimed to take Dietz's threats seriously but never told police.
Boettinger testified that he had talked to Dietz on three occasions about poison -- the first at Coughenour's home and two times at the gas station where Boettinger worked.
When asked what he had said to Dietz's request for poison, Boettinger testified, "I said to him, 'You're going to have to give me more time.' "
"Why didn't you tell him, 'Go to hell,'?" Stein asked Boettinger. "Why didn't you tell him, 'You're crazy. Get out of here.'?"
Boettinger, who said he never intended to get the poison, answered that Dietz was pressuring him for the poison because he owed Dietz money at the time.
Finally, Dietz came to Boettinger at work and told him to forget the poison.
Turnbull also allowed Boettinger and Coughenour to repeat various names that Dietz supposedly used to describe his parents over the years. The most tame of those was "butt- head."
"He would get angry," Coughenour testified. "They would have a blowout. This is when the rage would come out."
Coughenour said Dietz was always "obsessed with money" and with owning his parents' horse farm in the 7700 block of Inwood Ave.
"John didn't work," she testified. "But John wanted a lot of things."