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Gianakos' fate now in hands of jury

BISMARCK -- The fate of Michael Gianakos rested in the hands of a jury Wednesday night. The Moorhead man charged in federal court with kidnapping and killing AnneMarie Camp testified briefly before the case went to the jury. About an hour after r...

BISMARCK -- The fate of Michael Gianakos rested in the hands of a jury Wednesday night.

The Moorhead man charged in federal court with kidnapping and killing AnneMarie Camp testified briefly before the case went to the jury.

About an hour after receiving the case, jurors went home for the night with instructions to resume deliberations this morning.

Gianakos said Wednesday he had nothing to do with the murder of Camp, whose body was found May 7, 1997, behind an abandoned farmhouse near Sabin, Minn.

"I didn't commit murder, sir," Gianakos told prosecutor Chris Myers.

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Gianakos's wife, Jamie Dennis-Gianakos, testified earlier in the trial that she and her husband drove Camp, the couple's baby sitter, to the farmstead the evening of May 1, 1997. She said her husband laced a wine cooler with sleeping pills and they gave it to Camp while they drove her to the farmstead.

Dennis-Gianakos said she didn't know her husband planned to shoot Camp.

A witness who lives near the murder scene said he heard a gunshot about 9:45 p.m.

Gianakos testified he was at his parents' home from about 9 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. on the night of the incident. He said his wife left that afternoon, saying she planned to practice shooting a shotgun he purchased for her that day.

He said she returned late that night, without the gun.

Investigators focused on the couple after Gianakos told his parents in September 1998 that he found details of a murder in a journal written by his wife. The story contained elements similar to Camp's murder, including use of a shotgun, a knife and poisoned wine coolers.

During the trial, prosecutors played numerous taped phone conversations.

On a number tapes Gianakos repeatedly and vehemently denied to family and friends he ever saw a journal. After he was arrested in 1999 Gianakos said there was a journal, though authorities never found one.

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The defense focused attention on Camp's former boyfriend, Andrew Betrosian, who according to one witness threatened to kill Camp over a child visitation dispute.

Testimony from a number of witnesses contradicted Dennis-Gianakos's version of events, including her statement that she returned to Camp's apartment the night of the murder to get her purse.

The manager of the apartment building said she saw a purse on Camp's bed May 2 or 3. She said the purse was gone when investigators later searched the apartment.

Some time after Gianakos' first trial in 2000, Stayce Parisi, an inmate at a Colorado prison, wrote to him stating his wife, a fellow inmate, told her she had not testified truthfully at the trial.

Parisi said Dennis-Gianakos told her she poisoned the wine cooler and slashed Camp's throat prior to Camp being shot.

Dennis-Gianakos has claimed she did not know how Camp's throat was cut.

Prosecutors called the Betrosian connection a red herring and said Parisi wasn't a credible witness, describing her testimony as payback for something Dennis-Gianakos did to her.

Dennis-Gianakos is serving a 25-year sentence after pleading guilty in state court to second-degree murder and testifying against her husband in his first trial.

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Gianakos was convicted in state court of first-degree murder, but the conviction was overturned. He was charged in U.S. District Court with kidnapping resulting in death and causing death by use of a firearm.

Readers can reach Moorhead Bureau Chief Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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