She told commune members $1M or more blood, prosecutors say

Staten Island Advance/October 16, 2007

The woman accused of gunning down a Staten Island commune leader was slapped with two addition charges of grand larceny today, as prosecutors now allege she contacted terrified members of the group and demanded money or the shootings would continue.

Rebekah Johnson, 44, contacted members of the Ganas group on two separate occasions in September and October of last year and demanded $1,000,000 be transferred to her bank account or there would be more bloodshed, prosecutors charge.

Ms. Johnson had already pleaded not guilty in July to attempted murder, assault, and two counts of weapons possession stemming from the Memorial Day 2006 shooting of Jeffrey Gross, who was ambushed as he returned to the Ganas compound in New Brighton from a movie.

She pleaded not guilty to the new grand larceny charges as well.

Justice Leonard P. Rienzi ordered her held without bail pending her next court appearance on Dec. 12.

She was a member of the Ganas community until she was ousted sometime in 1996. Ms. Johnson then began to wage a vengeful campaign against Gross -- distributing fliers branding Ganas a "cult group" that "rapes women to force them into fraudulent immigration marriages" and labeling Gross a "rapist and a pimp."

On May 29, 2006, a woman wielding a gun jumped out of the thick vegetation that blanketed the steep hill in front of the Ganas commune and opened fire. Gross was shot in the neck, stomach, arm and leg, and underwent several surgeries to his arm.

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