Some witnesses said they thought the three were joking.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- In the months leading up to the death of a 12-year-old Youngstown girl, there was often talk of wanting to rape and kill a young girl by the men accused of her murder, friends of the men say.
One of the men even coined the phrase "Too young to date, but not too young to rape" during these conversations, said one witness who appeared Thursday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court for the trial of Perry S. Ricciardi II.
Ricciardi, 22, along with William Monday, 23, and David Garvey, 22, all formerly of Struthers, are charged with criminal homicide, kidnapping, unlawful restraint, criminal conspiracy to commit homicide, criminal conspiracy to commit rape and abuse of a corpse in the Oct. 8 death of Shannon Leigh Kos.
She was found a few days later, her throat slit and multiple stab wounds on her body, in a secluded section of Mahoning Township, Lawrence County. Her body also was burned.
Friends of Ricciardi, Garvey and Monday testified that they often partied in that area and called it "zombie land."
Ricciardi could face the death penalty if convicted of homicide. Garvey is still awaiting trial. Monday pleaded guilty to homicide charges last year and was sentenced to life in prison.
A series of the suspects' friends said there was often talk of rape and murder in the months before Shannon died.
"I remember them saying they wanted to find a girl, rape her and call her parents and put her on the phone to hear her scream and know they could do nothing about it," said Geary Macovitz of Struthers.
Macovitz shared an apartment with Garvey shortly before the murder.
Matthew Karester of Struthers, another school friend of the trio, said he remembers Monday and Ricciardi talking about wanting to rape and kill a young girl as the three partied in a disabled car in Monday's driveway.
And Christopher Thompson of Poland testified that he remembered at least two conversations where Garvey, Ricciardi and Monday talked about rape and murder.
All three witnesses said the men were drinking and smoking marijuana when they talked. He testified that it was Ricciardi who said, "Too young to date, but not too young to rape."
Various versions of the story also surfaced.
Thompson said the three also talked about dropping the girl off naked at a police station after the rape. He added that he didn't take the conversations seriously because the men also talked about suicide and robbing banks.
Prosecutors also questioned the friends about music Ricciardi, Garvey and Monday listened to in the months before Shannon's death.
Thompson said they often listened to the album "The Sickness" by the group Disturbed and that Ricciardi even named a wrestler in Thompson's Nintendo 64 video game "The Sickness."
On that album, one of the songs is titled "Down with the Sickness." Part of its lyrics are:
"Looking at my own reflection
When suddenly it changes
Violently it changes
There is no turning back now
You've woken up the demon in me.
"I can see inside you, the sickness is rising
Don't try to deny what you fee
It seems that all that was good has died
And is decaying in me."
Police have said "The Sickness" was painted on the knife used to kill Shannon.
Another friend, David Iscuria, whose hometown was not given, said he was present when Garvey painted those words on the knife.
Iscuria added that he often partied with the three men in "zombie land" and saw them with knives.
"[Ricciardi] said how it would be cool to cut and stab somebody and watch the blood slowly flow from their body," Iscuria testified.
Karester added that he had telephone conversations with Ricciardi after his arrest where Ricciardi admitted he was present when Shannon died.
"He mentioned that he did do one thing [to Shannon], but he didn't kill that girl," Karester said.