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State v. Schultheis

Decided: January 13, 1971.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WILLIAM A. SCHULTHEIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Goldmann, Leonard and Mountain. The opinion of the court was delivered by Leonard, J.A.D.

Leonard

Defendant William Schultheis appeals from convictions of unlawful possession of a weapon (N.J.S.A. 2A:151-41), threatening to take the life of another (N.J.S.A. 2A:113-8) and bookmaking (N.J.S.A. 2A:112-3). He was jointly tried to a jury with one Louis Turi who was also convicted of threatening to take life, bookmaking and in addition, with breaking and entering with intent to assault (N.J.S.A. 2A:94-1).

Edward Preston testified that on September 29, 1968 he, then 15, lived at home with his father, Andrew, in Bound Brook, N.J. That evening at or about 8 o'clock, he and a friend, Louis Delatorca, were alone in the family house watching television when he heard a knock on the back door followed by one at the front door. He opened the front door but not the screen door, and present was a man, later identified as defendant, who said he was an insurance agent looking for his [Edward's] father. Defendant was admitted and he, immediately, pushed Edward back into the hallway and reached for a holster just above his waist and put his hand on a gun. Edward was very scared and obeyed the man's command to get back into the living room. At this point he saw another person in the kitchen who had come in through the back way. His face was covered by something that looked like a nylon stocking which blurred his features.

Defendant then shoved Edward into the hall and directed him to phone his father. He did and told him that there were a couple of gentlemen in the house who wished to talk to him. He gave the phone to defendant who, before

talking to the father, made Edward lie face down on the floor. The other man also took the phone and spoke to his father. The phone was given to Edward on two occasions and he conversed with his father each time, the last time for a couple of minutes. Shortly thereafter the police came to the front door and defendant and the other man fled through the back door.

Edward further testified that defendant threatened him and his friend: "He would take us to the river, take us to Newark and kill us and do away with us," "castrate us," "rough us up and mug us," "We would never see our parents again." While this was being said defendant put his foot heavily on Edward's back. The result was to "scare [him] very much."

On cross-examination Edward stated that he saw the gun handle and "a part of the metal." He estimated the varnished wood handle was six or seven inches long. He was familiar with guns through his association with Boy Scouts and various police gun exhibits. He was definite in his opinion that this was a "real" gun. As to the threats he asserted, "Not for a minute did I think it was a joke or some sort of a ruse. I knew it was true."

Delatorca, Edward's friend, testified that he lay down immediately upon being told to do so but because he was so scared he didn't pay attention to what transpired or was said.

Andrew Preston, Edward's father, testified that he knew Turi for five or six years and defendant for about one year, and that he would call one or the other on the phone in Plainfield or South Plainfield and place bets with them on horse races. He identified the phone numbers called. He stated he called and placed bets about six days a week. He met Turi once a week (Wednesday) for a payoff or a collection in various places in Somerville. Turi introduced defendant as his partner and stated, "He'll be handling some of your calls from now on." Thereafter, defendant handled 70% of the calls. He further stated that on most

occasions he called defendant or Turi but there were times when both of them called him.

Preston further testified that by September 1968 he had accumulated a debt of about $600 in his betting and he was told by ...


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