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'Kidding' or Plotting Murder?

A woman says she was joking when she discussed killing her lover's wife with the alleged shooter.

November 20, 2002|Mai Tran | Times Staff Writer

An Anaheim woman accused of plotting to kill her lover's wife tearfully testified Tuesday that she was drunk and only joking when she talked about it with the alleged hit man.

Adrianna Vasco, 35, said she and Dennis Godley, 32, were drunk and on drugs when he confided in her, telling her that he was a fugitive from North Carolina, wanted for robbery.

"He told me about people he had in Carolina that would take care of people," she testified. "So I told him I have a doctor friend that wants to take care of his wife."

Godley walked out of the room, then returned and took the offer, Vasco testified.

"You know, I was just kidding," she told him.

"People don't kid like that," she said Godley told her. "If you say anything now, I'm going to kill you and your kids."

"I was aware of the big mistake I made," she told the court.

Vasco and Godley are accused of hatching a murder-for-hire plot to kill optometrist Carolyn Oppy-Stahl, 44, for $30,000. Prosecutors said the plan went awry and Godley also killed Kenneth Stahl, 57, an anesthesiologist who was having an affair with Vasco, a medical secretary he met in 1992, to eliminate a witness. Their bodies were found inside Oppy-Stahl's Dodge Stratus on Nov. 20, 1999, along Ortega Highway in San Juan Capistrano by a security guard.

Prosecutors said Vasco wanted to kill Oppy-Stahl because she was interfering with her relationship with Kenneth Stahl.

Vasco testified that Stahl had talked about killing his wife since 1995. When Godley ran out of money in 1999, she said, he forced her to call Stahl and set up a meeting.

In opening his cross-examination, Deputy Dist. Atty. Dennis Conway told jurors that Vasco is not as innocent as she tries to portray herself. She is "freaky" and "aggressive," he said, and had been convicted of physically abusing a boyfriend.

He accused her of knowing the plot since the three of them, including Stahl, had met several times at a Huntington Beach mall and Vasco gave Godley an envelope of money. The three also met on Ortega Highway the day before the murders.

"The only link from Ken to [Godley] is you," Conway said during cross-examination. "Do you know that that looks really bad on you?"

"Yes," she replied.

"The die was cast for Carolyn's death and you knew that and you didn't call the cops?" Conway asked. "You think he was going to kill you and your kids. What, you think he wasn't going to kill Carolyn Stahl? Didn't you think the day before was a dry run?"

Closing arguments are expected to conclude today.

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