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Two Companions Killed Male Prostitute, Soviet Emigre Testifies

December 19, 1985|ROXANE ARNOLD | Times Staff Writer

A 20-year-old Soviet immigrant on trial in the shotgun slaying of a male prostitute last year testified Wednesday that two other members of his Hollywood street "family" committed the killing.

Speaking in heavily accented English, Oleg Pinsky told a Los Angeles Superior Court jury that he made no move to stop the killing, because he was "half and half passed out" after "tripping" on marijuana and was fearful that he would also be killed.

Pinsky, along with Sonny Godfrey, 42, the suspected head of the so-called "mini-Manson family," and Robert Harris Ormsbee, 20, another family member, are accused of killing Carlos Pena in a robbery. Godfrey and Ormsbee are also charged with the earlier murders of two other homosexual male prostitutes.

A fourth member of the group, 24-year-old Thomas Canup, pleaded guilty last May to second- degree murder in the first of the killings. Godfrey and Ormsbee await trial.

Pinsky testified that Godfrey had told him about the earlier slayings but he did not break off their friendship because, "I still didn't believe Sonny did anything like that."

On the night of the Pena slaying, Pinsky testified that he was with Godfrey and Ormsbee in Godfrey's white truck, when they spotted Pena standing at a bus stop. Pinsky said his two companions lured Pena into the truck on the pretext of soliciting sex, then handcuffed him and drove to the desert near Palmdale.

"The guy didn't have no money at all," Pinsky testified. "Five dollars and some change, that was it."

Describing himself as "trapped inside the camper," Pinsky said he agreed to cut Pena's T-shirt off, when Ormsbee pulled out a shotgun.

"I was scared when I saw the shotgun," Pinsky said. "I had thoughts (of my being killed as well). . . . I just stepped back," Pinsky said. "I remember before the guy got shot in the head, Sonny did take the handcuffs off. I don't know who did the shooting."

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