Suspect Reportedly Will Say Gionis Paid for Wayne Attack
One of the men accused of assaulting Aissa Wayne and her former financier boyfriend has agreed to testify that Wayne’s ex-husband, Pomona surgeon Thomas A. Gionis, paid money to have the Oct. 3 attack carried out, a prosecutor revealed in court Monday.
Jeffrey Kendall Bouey is to be called to the witness stand today in the second day of a preliminary hearing into whether Gionis, 35, should be bound over for trial on charges that he masterminded the attack against Wayne, 32, and Roger W. Luby, 53, at Luby’s Newport Beach estate.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher J. Evans said during the hearing at Harbor Municipal Court that Bouey would testify that Gionis paid thousands of dollars for the attack to Beverly Hills private investigator O. Daniel Gal.
Prosecutors have alleged that Gal--who had been retained by Gionis to monitor his ex-wife’s activities during a custody dispute over their daughter, Anastasia--hired both Bouey, 35, a swimming pool cleaner from Simi Valley, and Jerrel L. Hintergardt, 37, an unemployed apartment manager from Burbank, to carry out the assault.
The two San Fernando Valley men, arrested last month and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, are being held in the Orange County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond each. Gal, 32, was arrested by Interpol agents last week in Switzerland and is being extradited to Newport Beach, where he faces charges of conspiracy to commit assault with a deadly weapon. His bond also is set at $1 million.
Gionis has been held without bond since his April 4 arrest because investigators said they believed he was preparing to flee to his family’s native Greece, a charge that Gionis’ lawyers have denied. On Monday, his lawyers appealed the no-bail order to the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana. The appellate court, noting that the appeal “may have merit,” gave prosecutors until Friday to submit a response.
Meanwhile, Aissa Wayne, daughter of the late actor John Wayne, has been given temporary custody of 2-year-old Anastasia pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings against Gionis, who had been awarded custody in February.
Outside the Newport Beach courtroom Monday, Evans said that Bouey has not been promised immunity in exchange for his testimony. Evans declined to say anything further about Bouey’s testimony, other than: “Stay tuned. Come back tomorrow.”
Famed criminal attorney F. Lee Bailey--who began representing Gionis on Monday amid heavy media fanfare--said outside court Monday that he did not attach any importance to Bouey’s testimony.
“Mr. Bouey doesn’t know anything directly about my client,” Bailey contended.
Bailey also played down the prosecution’s evidence Monday that sought to link Gionis to the assault through telephone calls and payments to Gal.
Prosecutors submitted evidence showing that Gionis had paid Gal about $40,000 a month before the attack, and that on the day that it took place, a series of telephone calls were made between Gionis and Gal.
“There has been nothing to tie Dr. Gionis to the assault,” Bailey said.
Evans disagreed. “All these payments were made for the price of an Achilles’ tendon,” he told the judge, referring to Luby’s right Achilles’ tendon, which was slashed in the attack.
Prosecutors are trying to show that Gionis ordered the attack, possibly to help influence his custody battle against Wayne. The custody trial began Nov. 30 and continued for 2 months.
Both Luby and Wayne took the stand Monday to recount publicly for the first time the events on the day of the attack.
The couple, who had been dating about 9 months, testified separately that they had just returned to Luby’s gated estate from a health club workout about 11:30 a.m. that day.
Stepping from Luby’s car in the garage, they said they were approached by two men who had entered the property after the gate had opened to admit the car. They said the men asked: “Are you Roger Luby?” When he replied affirmatively, they produced automatic pistols.
Luby said he asked if the men were joking, and that one of the men replied heatedly, “This is no joke,” then hit him over the head with a pistol. Repeatedly making threats and shouting expletives, the gunman then forced Luby to lie face down on the garage floor, where his hands and ankles were bound. All the while, Luby said, the gunman held a pistol to the back of his head.
“I thought I was history,” Luby testified.
While on the floor, Luby said the man--whom police later identified as Hintergardt--slammed his head into the floor “four or five times,” then pulled a knife. The man “started cutting me on the buttocks,” but left only a scratch through the clothing before slashing at the tendons on both ankles. The right ankle was injured, Luby said, but the left was protected by a tennis shoe.
Luby said the man then warned, “If I keep quiet, I might live.” The attacker then moved to the other side of the car, where a man whom police have identified as Bouey was holding Wayne at gunpoint, also face down on the floor. Luby said he watched as the man lifted Wayne’s head by the hair and slammed her face into the concrete “two to three times.”
“I felt that my head was cut, and blood started coming down,” Wayne testified. She said her attacker warned her: “Don’t move your head or you’re dead. If you open your mouth you are dead. . . . You’re (expletive) with the wrong people.”
Between 5 and 10 minutes after the attack started, the men left as abruptly as they had come, Wayne and Luby testified. They said the last they remember of their attackers is when the man later identified as Hintergardt asked how to close the garage door behind him. After their attackers left, Wayne said she began shouting for Luby’s houseman, who heard the screams and quickly freed them.
Under cross-examination by Bailey, both Wayne and Luby testified that they had been misquoted in police reports. Both witnesses said, for example, that they never reported to police that one of the assailants warned: “This is a warning. If you screw up again, you’re dead,” as Newport Beach police reports said. Nor, Luby said, did either of the men say anything about ruining his tennis game, as the reports suggested.
During his questioning of Luby, Bailey suggested the possibility that the attack might have been motivated by a pending lawsuit that Luby filed against investors in a downtown Los Angeles historic-rehabilitation project. In the suit, filed in Oklahoma City against an Oklahoma-based consortium of 32 investors, Luby alleged, among other things, that he had been defrauded in the project.
Luby discounted that suit as a motive for the attack, telling Bailey: “You have it completely backwards. I should be shooting those people, not those people shooting me.”
Bailey shot back: “When somebody took a knife to you and put a gun to you, you thought it might be the lenders, did you not?”
Luby replied: “I did not.”
Luby said he also did not remember Wayne asking him in the ambulance after the attack, “Could it be the lenders?” and him responding, “That’s a possibility,” as Bailey said investigative reports have stated.
Wayne said that she also did not remember that conversation. All she remembers, she said, was that “they (paramedics) said he was losing blood quickly (and) he had an oxygen mask. I was worried about his (Luby’s) safety.”
Testimony in the hearing was scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. today before Municipal Court Judge Susanne S. Shaw, who is presiding over the case.
Bailey took charge of the case Monday after Gionis’ other lawyers, Marshall Schulman and Byron K. McMillan, stepped down because the district attorney last week filed a motion to have them disqualified from the case for conflict of interest.
McMillan had given Luby advice in 1986 on an unrelated civil matter. Schulman, while not admitting any conflict of interest, asked Judge Shaw to replace him and McMillan with Bailey, as well as Orange County attorney, Allan H. Stokke. Bailey said he was retained by the Gionis family on March 24.