Somerset Daily American (Somerset, Pennsylvania) i Saturday, October 29, 1966 - Page 12
Argimients Continue In .Murder Trial CLEVELAND (AP)—The star prosecution witness in the John L. Vanatta murder trial “pointed “pointed the finger at Vanatta to save his own neck,” defense counsel Jack G. Day argued Thursday. Final arguments will continue Friday in the trial of Vanatta, 40, who is charged with first- degree murder in the Oct. 5, 1963, slaying of his one-time business partner, Richard S. Richards. Earlier in the seven-week trial, Donald L. Beatty, 31 and formerly of Brownsville, Pa., gave what he claimed was an eyewitness account of Richards’ Richards’ slaying. Charges Clubbing Beatty testified that Vanatta clubbed Richards to death at the Vanatta home in Strongsville Strongsville while he, Beatty, held a gun on Richards at Vanatta’s direction. Beatty swore he helped put the body of Richards into the trunk of the wealthy jewelers car and then dispose dispose of it. Berea police found Richards battered body in the car trunk I Oct. 7, 1963, at a bus turnaround. turnaround. I “Beatty was afraid that if he didn’t finger Vanatta, he would be indicted for first-degree murder murder in the death of Richard S. Richards.’’ Day said. “Rem.'m- ber. he told his story only after certain persons put him on the scene.’’ Day then referred to a written statement made by Mrs. Mary Kratovitch, a sister-in-law of Vanatta. to Cuyahoga County prosecutor John T. Corrigan. In the statement, she wrote that Beatty “said he had to do the job because Vanatta turned chicken.” At the trial, Mrs Kratovitch labeled her statement to the prosecutor a lie. She said she had lied because she was mad at Vanatta. Day argued the defense case before the jury of eight men and four women, after assistant prosecutor Dennis J. McGuire presented the state’s side. Whirling around to face Va- natta, McGuire said: “See that man' See those hands! Those are the hands that wielded the bat.” Contrasting the testimony of Vanatta’s relatives with that of Beatty, the assistant prosecutor asked: “What reason made him come here and tell us the things he did that night? “John Vanatta gave Beatty drinks and then doped him into believing they were ‘just going to scare someone,’ ” McGuire contended, quoting Beatty’s testimony, testimony, “Helen fVanatta’s wife) then lured Richards to their home where Vanatta killed him,” Me, Guire said.