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Bonacci Perjury Trial Called Complex - Nov 9, 1990 - Omaha World-Herald

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Nov 9, 1990 Bonacci Perjury Trial Called Complex; [Sunrise Edition] Leslie Boellstorff. Omaha World - Herald. Omaha, Neb. pg. 17

Full Text (547 words)
(Copyright 1990 Omaha World-Herald Company)

Paul Bonacci's trial on perjury charges will be complicated because he suffers from multiple personality disorders, lawyer John DeCamp said Tuesday while arguing against joining the Bonacci case with that of Alisha Owen.

DeCamp said he was unable to find any other Nebraska criminal cases involving someone who has been diagnosed with multiple personalities. He speculated that each of Bonacci's personalities might have to be sworn in before testifying.

After the hearing, DeCamp said Bonacci has been diagnosed with six fully developed personalities and displays signs of about 25 others.

Grand Jury

Bonacci, 23, and Miss Owen, 22, are accused of lying to a Douglas County grand jury when they made allegations of being sexually abused as minors. The grand jury was called to investigate child sexual abuse allegations and other matters related to the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union failure.

In a hearing Thursday in Omaha, District Judge Raymond Case considered the prosecution's request to join the two perjury cases for a single trial in December.

Case said he would study the matter and release a decision later.

Both DeCamp, who is Bonacci's lawyer, and Henry Rosenthal Jr. of Omaha, Miss Owen's lawyer, opposed the request to consolidate the two cases.

"I'm almost offended by it because it creates and perpetuates the idea that the charges arose in the process of a coordinated hoax," DeCamp said.

Deputy Douglas County Attorney Gerald Moran argued that the cases should be joined because the charges against Miss Owen and Bonacci overlap.

Both are accused of lying to the same grand jury, he said, and Bonacci's grand jury testimony was intended to corroborate Miss Owen's sexual abuse allegations.

In his written arguments of resistance to joining the two cases, DeCamp said Miss Owen has a "demonstrated lack of credibility" because blood tests in a paternity suit against former Omaha Police Chief Robert Wadman showed Wadman did not father her 5-year-old child.

Prospective jurors would assume Bonacci's credibility is "equally suspect," DeCamp said in the written filing.

"That's exactly the point, your honor," Moran said. "If Alisha Owen is lying, so is Paul Bonacci."

Both DeCamp and Rosenthal contended that the stories of Bonacci and Miss Owen were not directly related and that any common elements were only coincidental.

The charges against Bonacci, for example, say he lied when he told the grand jury he saw Wadman use narcotics and witnessed Miss Owen and Wadman having sex, Rosenthal said. Miss Owen, on the other hand, said Wadman never was involved in narcotics and never had sex with her while anyone was watching, Rosenthal said.

Access to Records

Rosenthal said he was handicapped by not having full access to the complete records of the grand jury. He said there was no way he could be prepared for trial by the scheduled Dec. 10 date and threatened to withdraw from the case if the trial was not delayed.

Moran said he had given Rosenthal transcripts of the grand jury testimony of witnesses Moran plans to call. However, it will take another two weeks to transcribe the remainder of the 10,000 pages of testimony, which Moran said was peripheral to the case.

Case told Rosenthal he should file a written request for delay if he thinks he cannot be prepared in time.

Credit: World-Herald Staff Writer

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