Accused denies murder plot as `fantasy'

Jurors hear recording of cellmates' scheme

October 05, 2001|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Kingsville man accused of hiring a hit man to kill Baltimore County Circuit Judge Dana M. Levitz testified yesterday that the scheme was a "hypothetical fantasy," and that he didn't remember it until he was charged with solicitation to commit murder in January.

Christopher A. Denicolis, 21, also said he didn't recall conversations about the plot because his memory was impaired from years of using illegal drugs.

Denicolis is accused of agreeing to pay Kenneth Moroz $10,000 to kill Levitz a month before the judge was scheduled to sentence Denicolis for a home invasion.

Denicolis took the witness stand in Baltimore County Circuit Court shortly after Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst played a tape for jurors of Denicolis discussing the killing with a convicted murderer and armed robber.

Moroz had testified earlier that he had several conversations with Denicolis about killing Levitz before he notified county police, who sent him back to his cell wearing a concealed wire so authorities could hear the two men talking.

Asked by his lawyer, Mark Van Bavel, about the conversations, Denicolis said: "I didn't really remember any of them until I was faced with these charges. I have a prolonged memory-type thing."

The conversations about a possible scheme were "extremely hypothetical, fantasy-type conversations," said Denicolis.

On a 34-minute tape recording of the conversations - which is difficult to hear because of background noise - two men are heard discussing how one of them would steal a car and follow the judge from the county courthouse to his home to kill him.

According to a transcript of the tape, Moroz asked Denicolis how he would get paid $10,000 for the murder.

"Who's to say ... if I kill Levitz ... you won't ... beat me out of the ... money?" Moroz asked.

On the witness stand, Denicolis said he had no money to pay Moroz and never intended to have the judge killed.

He testified that he had no reason to kill Levitz because he knew he faced a 20-year prison sentence, no matter who sentenced him.

Moroz, 42, testified that Denicolis approached him several times to ask him to kill Levitz and Assistant State's Attorney Mickey J. Norman, who prosecuted Denicolis for a string of armed robberies.

"At first I just shrugged it off and then he asked me again. ... He was pretty serious about it, real serious," Moroz testified.

Moroz said he never intended to carry out the alleged murder plot, but admitted he used the information as a bargaining chip with police and prosecutors, hoping to get lighter sentences in several cases in which he is charged with credit card misuse and violation of probation.

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