Officially Endorsed By Dean O. Torrence (c)2004-2014 MGA
Updated whenever we can!!!
Transcribed as it appears in Issue 4 of Gonna Hustle You (1981)
Rock and roll star Dean Torrence took the witness stand in the Frank Sinatra Jr. Kidnap trail today and swore that he took no part in the alleged abduction of the youthful singer and lent no money to finance it.
Torrence, member of the red hot “Dean and Jan” (transcription note: typed as it appeared in article) song team, was called to testify after the court ordered that Sinatra Sr. Appear for further testimony Wednesday and young Sinatra be on hand Thursday.
Torrence, whose record album “Surf City” sold more than 800,000 copies, testified that defendant Barry Worthington Keenan was “my best friend”. But he denied he was taken into Keenan’s confidence on what defense attorneys called a “publicity hoax” kidnaping on Dec. 8.
He testified he had met defendant Joseph Clyde Amsler, but said he never met the third man accused in the federal court trial, John William Irwin.
Asked on direct examination if he had “any knowledge prior to Dec. 8 about the kidnaping of Frank Sinatra Jr.,” Torrence replied: “No sir. I did not.”
Exchanges in the question-and-answer testimony included:
Q–Did you lend money to defendant Barry Worthington Keenan for the purpose of financing the abduction of Frank Sinatra Jr.
A–No sir, I didn’t.
Q–Did you discuss it (the kidnaping) with anyone prior to Dec. 8.
A–No sir, I didn’t
Q–Did Mr. Keenan tell you he went to Tijuana to buy the guns.
Torrence admitted he had a joint safety deposit box with Keenan, but said it was all Keenan’s idea. He testified that after the three defendants were arrested FBI agents took him to the bank and opened the box.
The witness said the FBI took an envelope containing money from the box but he did not know before this time that there was money in the envelope.
Before the trial opened, the FBI said that about $1800 of the $240,000 ransom money paid by the young singer’s famous father was in the envelope.
Before Torrence took the stand another friend of Keenan, swim pool service owner, Theodore M. Beck, also denied he knew of any plans for the asserted abduction.
He said the FBI found an undisclosed amount of money in the closed of his apartment after a visit from Keenan, but denied knowing it had been left there.
Beck, under cross-examination, admitted being acquainted with Torrence. He also testified he was acquainted with Nancy Sinatra, and “went to a party at her home when I was about 15 years old.”
Beck said Keenan was “in and out” of the Beck apartment on various occasions. He said Keenan spent the night Dec 11. The FBI assertedly found the money in the closet Dec. 14.
The return of the Sinatras was assured by a ruling of the Federal Court trial judge who earlier ordered defense attorneys to show their testimony was needed on “material cause” before defense attempts at a subpoena would be upheld.
Sinatra Jr. Now is in Europe on an entertainment tour. The date of his expected return was not immediately disclosed.
Meanwhile, three earlier witness testifying near the windup of the prosecution’s case produced a colorless court session today that established little other than:
One witness rented a car to defendant Barry Worthington Keenan the day after young Sinatra allegedly was kidnaped for $240,000 ransom.
Another rented a motel room to Keenan and another man shortly before the case broke.
The third received a call that Sinatra was “alive and all right” the morning after the kidnaping.
James V. Schmidt, fleet manager of the car rental service, identified Keenan in court as renting the 1963 auto from the agency at the Beverly Hilton on Dec 9.
Robert Barton manager of a motel at 115 S Fairfax Ave., identified Keenan as the man who rented a room November 21 under the name “Bill Keene.” He said Keenan and the other man, registered as Bob Allen” occupied the room from Nov 21 to Dec 2.
Barton added that the two men left without paying the bill. He saw Keenan on several occasions during their stay but did not see “Allen,” he testified.
William Dahle, sports wire reporter for radio station KMPC, testified he received a call on Dec. 9 informing him that young Sinatra was alive and well. The unknown caller requested him to call Sinatra’s parents, he said.
Dahle testified he did not call the Sinatras, but instead notified the FBI.
The Federal prosecutor expects to complete his case tonight or before noon tomorrow.
Then the defense will take it’s turn and attempt to show that the alleged kidnaping was a “publicity hoax.”
Keenan, 23, Joseph C. Amsler, also 23, and John W. Irwin, 42, are named in the six-county indictment covering the alleged abduction of the 20 year-old singer from a Lake Tahoe lodge Dec. 8 and the procuring of a ransom from Frank Sinatra Sr.
Both Sinatra Jr. And his famous father have denied on the witness stand in Federal court under questioning by prosecution and defense that the alleged abduction was a hoax.
Defense lawyers Morris Lavine and George Forde for Amsler, Charles Crouch for Keenan and Gladys Towles Root for Irwin, were told by the court to outline the defense case prior to the ruling today and show why they want to recall the two Sinatras.
Today’s opening session followed a three day recess. Friday having been the day of the legal observance of George Washington’s birthday and Saturday being an off day in the courts.
Left to Right: Barry Keenan, Joe Amsler and John Irwin
Frank Sinatra Jr. outside courthouse
Note: Kidnapping occurred in December 1961.