PITTSBURG -- An Antioch business owner accused of trying to hire an "enforcer" to maim a former employee by cutting off the man's penis and tongue was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on counts of attempted aggravated mayhem and solicitation of an assault likely to cause great bodily injury.
Pittsburg Superior Court Judge Charles Treat made the ruling after a preliminary trial that featured an audio recording of Joseph Mosis, 52, negotiating with a man he believed to be a hit man but was in reality an undercover Pittsburg police officer.
Mosis, who owns Monsam Enterprises, a precision cutting and framing business, appeared in court wearing mustard-colored inmate garb and shackles.
Prosecutor Greg Chiarella called three witnesses -- Saul Hernandez, a Monsam employee who testified that an enraged Mosis asked him to "take care" of an ex-employee, a fellow Egyptian who had sued him for back pay, either himself or by securing an "enforcer"; Pittsburg police Officer Juan Simental, who posed as a hit man at a Feb. 20 meeting with Mosis; and Pittsburg police Detective Erik Severe.
Chiarella's most colorful "witness" was the recording of Mosis and Simental, whom Mosis believed to be an enforcer secured by Hernandez, apparently agreeing on a contract to have the ex-employee mutilated as an example.
"He took me to the labor board in Oakland," Mosis says on the recording, referring to the intended victim. "I want to teach him a lesson. My imagination goes wild. Give me some ideas."
"We can have him maimed," Simental suggests.
"Whatever," Mosis says. "Cut his tongue and his (penis). How much?"
"Between $1,500 and $2,000," Simental answers. Ultimately, the two agreed on $1,200, to be paid in two installments.
Later in the recording, Mosis says, "Beat him up. Beat him up so he's in the hospital forever."
"Both legs?" Simental asks.
"Break his back?"
"No," Mosis says. "That is enough."
At one point during the negotiation, Mosis returned to his car to retrieve a photograph of the former employee, which he gave to Simental. He also agreed to provide Simental with the intended victim's Social Security number, address and license plate number. The meeting ended with Mosis telling Simental:
"I'm not going to ask your name. Thank you buddy. I'll take you to Egypt. You are my son."
Mosis was arrested as he drove away from the meeting. Severe testified that police considered Mosis a threat to the intended victim.
"It appeared Mr. Mosis was becoming impatient," Severe said.
On cross examination, defense attorney Derek Ewin enumerated to Simental all the details to which Mosis did not attend the night of their meeting, including making a payment and providing additional personal information on the intended victim.
"This was not a done deal, correct?" Ewin asked.
"Correct," Simental said.
After debating the legal difference between solicitation and attempt with Chiarella and Ewin, Judge Treat ruled there was sufficient evidence to hold Mosis for trial. Mosis will be arraigned in Martinez on May 5.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.