Originally created 01/11/00

Suspect denies paging victim's beeper



Just before Lori Joe Hastings saw her son for the last time, she received a page from the man accused of killing her, her son told a jury Monday.

Tony Green testified in Richmond County Superior Court that he had his mother's pager when it activated near 10 p.m. April 22 with the telephone number he knew belonged to Sajid Leslie. In addition to a number, the page contained a message, 12-year-old Tony testified.

"Since you are going to be late don't even bother to come, but you will see me again," Tony quoted in a strong, clear voice without hesitation.

His mother left home soon after, telling Tony she would return in an hour, he testified.

Ms. Hastings, 30, never returned to her North Augusta home.

Just after 11 p.m. April 22, Richmond County firefighters discovered her body in her burning automobile, which was parked in an isolated parking area off Regency Boulevard. Sheriff's investigators arrested Mr. Leslie, 29, a few days later.

Mr. Leslie has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony murder, malice murder and arson. His trial began Jan. 3.

On Monday, Mr. Leslie testified in his own defense, calmly responding "No," when his attorney asked him if he had set Ms. Hastings' car on fire, if he had burned her to death, if he had paged his former girlfriend that night.

The night Ms. Hastings died, Mr. Leslie testified, he was at dog fights in Taliaferro County from approximately 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The injuries to his face -- photographed by investigators last April -- were caused by a fall off a motorcycle April 20, a backfire from his car's carburetor on April 21, and by his using rubbing alcohol and soap on his face, Mr. Leslie testified.

Friends or associates who could verify those events and his whereabouts on the night of Ms. Hastings' slaying don't use their real names and cannot be located by anybody else, Mr. Leslie testified under cross-examination.

"Some of these people wouldn't appreciate it if I gave the police their phone numbers or addresses," testified Mr. Leslie, explaining why he did not provide any phone numbers or addresses.

Two of those people, "Monty Scibetta" and "Nicky Scarfo," also are the names of people in a paperback novel Investigator Scott Peebles found at Mr. Leslie's home April 26, although the book refers to "Nick Scibetta," not "Monty Scibetta."

A third name officers came across during their investigation, "Aniello Dellacroce" also was mentioned in Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family, Investigator Peebles testified Monday.

According to a witness who testified last week, Mr. Leslie obtained a pager under that name on April 16.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226.