EX-PROSECUTOR SAYS HE TOLD DEFENSE ABOUT CLAIMS OF LEVIN SIGHTINGS.
The prosecutor in Billionaire Boys Club leader Joe Hunt's original murder trial testified Thursday he vaguely recalls being contacted about ``sightings'' of victim Ron Levin long after he was supposed to be dead and gave the information to the defense.
Fred Wapner, a former deputy district attorney who is now a Superior Court judge, said that he couldn't recall, however, whether his office investigated two such reports brought to him during the trial.
``I remember receiving the information from Robbie Robinson on April 17, 1987,'' Wapner said, but indicated he recalled it only after having his memory refreshed by a trial transcript.
Robinson, a former reporter, testified that he saw Levin at a Westwood movie theater in October 1986, 2-1/2 years after Levin had vanished.
Hunt, convicted of Levin's murder in 1987, is seeking a new trial on numerous grounds, including the claim that Levin is alive. The body has never been found and Hunt's lawyers contend Levin staged his own disappearance.
Witnesses have testified that Levin, a sometimes-con man, was spotted in locations from Greece to Los Angeles after he was supposed to be dead.
The lawyers suggested Thursday that Levin was afraid he was going to be indicted in a federal bank fraud investigation and vanished to avoid it.
Hunt, who recruited young men into the BBC with promises of get-rich-quick schemes, is serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.
In testimony Thursday, Bob Tur, who runs a helicopter TV news service, corroborated the testimony of his mother-in-law, Connie Gerrard, who said she saw Levin on the Greek island of Mykonos on Christmas Day 1987.
Tur said he picked up Gerrard at the airport when she returned and she blurted out the story of seeing Levin, who was well known by Tur.
``What was your reaction?'' asked Deputy District Attorney Andrew McMullin.
``It sounds like something Ron Levin would do,'' said Tur. ``He was that selfish. Leave a guy in jail for 20 years. That is the kind of guy he was.''
Tur said he advised Gerrard to contact the District Attorney's Office and a TV news reporter.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Czuleger, who will decide whether to grant a new trial, has heard from Gerrard and Robinson, as well as a funeral director who said he saw Levin at a funeral in 1987 and a woman who believes she spotted Levin getting into a Mercedes in Brentwood in 1987.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 3, 1996|
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