Con man brought back to face trial, 8 months late Salvatore Spinnato charged with kidnapping

September 10, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Admitted con man and ex-fugitive Salvatore P. Spinnato finally showed up in Baltimore County Circuit Court yesterday -- eight months late for his trial on charges that he kidnapped, assaulted and falsely imprisoned his ex-wife's boyfriend.

Spinnato, arrested two weeks ago in Texas, appeared in jeans, leg chains and tasseled loafers as judges in separate hearings revoked his bail and rescheduled his trial for next month.

His original trial -- scheduled for Jan. 21 -- was put off when Spinnato "absconded from the state," said prosecutor Mickey J. Norman. The assistant state's attorney said Spinnato, 54, had a half-dozen false identification cards with him when he was arrested Aug. 26.

Yesterday, Spinnato's lawyer, Salvatore E. Anello, tried to downplay the charges, which were dramatized on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries" in May.

"The state has portrayed my client as the next Dillinger," Anello complained in pleading to Judge J. William Hinkel that Spinnato should not have his bail revoked. Anello termed the case "a domestic assault."

According to police, Spinnato kidnapped Lynn Hogg in July 1996, tied him up in a vacant Arbutus house and threatened to kill him if Hogg didn't stop seeing Spinnato's ex-wife. Police say an accomplice attacked Hogg with an electric shock device.

Spinnato also is accused of threatening Hogg's children and saying he would wrap Hogg's body in a rug and ship it to New York.

The trial for the alleged accomplice was consolidated with Spinnato's yesterday.

Paul Homer Shaffer, 30, of the 1600 block of Frederick Road in Catonsville is scheduled to be tried Nov. 24 with Spinnato on charges of conspiracy to kidnap, false imprisonment and assault.

At the other hearing, before Judge John G. Turnbull II, Anello said he was going to "file a motion against the state's attorney's office for prosecutorial misconduct."

He later said he believes the office acted unethically by cooperating with "Unsolved Mysteries," giving "credibility to a version of events that did not happen."

In a moment of confusion during the bail hearing in Hinkel's courtroom, Anello accidentally referred to his client as "Mr. Oliverio" -- one of the many aliases Spinnato has used in schemes that involved writing bad checks and impersonating doctors.

Anello's slip made Hinkel laugh. But Hogg and Spinnato's ex-wife, Elizabeth Smith, were not amused.

"They find it funny. I find it disgusting. Put the guy away. What's it going to take?" asked Hogg, adding that he was relieved that Spinnato will remain in jail until the trial.

"Do you know what it's like to be in the house and hear twigs break and not know who is out there, to worry if your kids are 10 minutes late?" Hogg said outside the courtroom.

Pub Date: 9/10/97

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