Pastor tells of scratches on murder defendant

first_imgSAN FERNANDO – John Racz had scratches on his face and hand at a counseling session 16 years ago, about the time his estranged wife vanished, the couple’s pastor testified Monday. Prosecutors in his murder trial have suggested that Racz was scratched in a death struggle with his wife, Ann Mineko Racz, who vanished 16 years ago. Her body has never been found. But a defense attorney confronted the Rev. Glen Thorp on why he didn’t tell investigators about the scratches until seven weeks after he saw them, even after the pastor already had reported Ann Racz missing. “As time went on,” Thorp said, “I began to get a sinking feeling in my stomach and began to recall those things, and that’s when I called the detectives.” John Racz, 61, a former sheriff’s sergeant from Valencia, is accused of killing his wife on April 22, 1991, just days after she filed for divorce and moved to a condo with their three children. Even though friends and family have not heard from Ann Mineko Racz since 1991, John Racz’s attorneys have argued she could have left on her own. On Monday, defense attorney Philip Israels, talking about an affair he suggested Ann Racz was having, asked Thorp if he knew she met with another man at a hotel while her husband was away at a church retreat. Judge Ronald Coen cut short that line of questioning. Thorp was offering marriage counseling to the Raczes before Ann Racz vanished. On Friday, the pastor testified that she had feared her husband would kill her if she left. Israels asked Thorp why he held back on telling authorities about that until just last month. Thorp responded that he felt constrained by confidentiality protections, since he was acting as a counselor to Ann Racz. Now, Thorp said, he believes Ann Racz is dead, and so the law has changed regarding confidentiality about what she said. Thorp, who met with the Raczes on April 21, 1991, testified that he first noticed the scratches on John Racz’s face and hand four days later in a counseling session with him. Thorp said he initially did not think much of the scratches and assumed they could have come from gardening. In response to Israels’ question, Thorp said that he did not recall the scratches when he was asked about them in May 2006. Since then, Thorp has had a chance to look at notes from interviews with detectives, and that refreshed his memory, he said. “It’s been 16 years,” Thorp said in a loud voice. “My life has gone on. … What I told the detectives back then was accurate. That’s what I recall.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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