The former Holtsville man charged with trying to kidnap his attorney — Suffolk Conservative Party chairman Frank Tinari — decided at the last minute Thursday that he would not testify in his own defense.
On Wednesday evening, defense attorney Marc Gann of Mineola, told state Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho that he expected his client, Glenn Terry, 48, to take the witness stand.
Earlier in Terry’s trial, a Suffolk police detective testified that Terry told her, “I just want to be heard. Nobody’s listening to me.”
But before the jury entered the Central Islip courtroom Thursday morning, Terry decided he would say no more.
“Will you testify?” Camacho asked Terry.
“No, I’m not, your honor,” he replied.
Camacho made it clear to Terry that if he wanted to tell his story in court, this was his only chance.
“If you’re going to testify, this would be the time to do it,” the judge said. “You have the right to testify. You also have the right to remain silent and not have that held against you.”
Terry said he understood. With that, the defense rested without calling any witnesses.
Gann declined to say afterward why his client changed his mind.
Terry’s dispute with Tinari arose out of his desire to undo a $450,000 settlement in a civil suit Terry had filed. Terry sued his oil company and a contractor in 2002 after he fell into a bathtub of scalding water and got severe burns. Terry accepted the settlement in 2008, but a few years later began insisting that he should have received more money and demanded that Tinari reopen the case.
Tinari testified earlier this week that he told Terry that the settlement ended the case and there was nothing he could do.
Police pulled Terry overin Central Islip on March 27, 2015, for traffic infractions and noticed a Taser cartridge in his car. It soon became apparent he had also brought a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, 50,000-volt Taser, 1.2 million-volt Zap stun gun, Rambo knife, pepper spray and handcuffs with him from his home in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Police have testified that he eagerly told them he wanted to grab Tinari, duct-tape his mouth, stuff him in the trunk of his car and take him to his father’s basement, where he intended to scare him by soaking him in gasoline.
Gann suggested in court that he will argue next week that despite the weapons, his client’s statements and evidence that he went to Tinari’s office, there was no proof that Terry was really going to kidnap Tinari.
“There was no evidence of intent to anything to Mr. Tinari at that point, other than potentially innocent actions,” Gann said.
Gann and Assistant District Attorney Peter Timmons will give closing arguments to the jury on Tuesday. If convicted of second-degree attempted kidnapping and several weapons charges, Terry faces a maximum of 34 2⁄3 to 44 years in prison.