U.S. hands over for execution man who set up slayings

November 01, 1990|By William F. Zorzi Jr.

Federal prison authorities have returned Anthony Grandison to be executed at the Maryland Penitentiary for arranging the April 1983 contract killings of a federal witness and his sister-in-law at the Warren House Motor Hotel in Pikesville.

But Jerome E. Deise Jr., a public defender, said yesterday that another round of appeals to prevent the execution would begin immediately.

Sue A. Schenning, Baltimore County deputy state's attorney, confirmed that U.S. marshals brought Grandison back to the state on a death warrant Tuesday night from the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., where he was serving life plus 10 years for federal civil-rights and witness-tampering charges connected with the murders.

Mrs. Schenning said that Grandison exhausted his appeals in January and that the state "could proceed with the death sentence" for his masterminding of the murders of Scott Piechowicz, manager of the Reisterstown Road motel, and Mr. Piechowicz's sister-in-law, Susan Kennedy.

"He has a death sentence until he files for further proceedings . . . and he has filed no [additional] appeals, so we continue with the sentence," she said.

Mr. Deise, chief of the capital defense division of the Maryland public defender's office, said he would be acting as early as today to stop the state's attempts to have Grandison die in Maryland's gas chamber through legal appeals -- this time, based on a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

He said he was both surprised and disturbed at the Baltimore County prosecutors' issuance of the death warrant.

Mr. Deise said the Maryland attorney general's office conceded in an unrelated appeal by Grandison before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the killer was sentenced after a victim-impact statement was heard by the jury. In 1987, the Supreme Court struck down as a violation of a defendant's constitutional rights the Maryland law allowing such statements to a jury.

Grandison was sentenced to death June 6, 1984, by a Somerset County jury that found him guilty a month earlier of arranging the murders of Mr. Piechowicz and Miss Kennedy from his cell at the Baltimore City Jail, where he was awaiting trial on drug charges.

Mr. Piechowicz and his wife Cheryl were to have testified against Grandison at a federal drug trial. Miss Kennedy was shot by mistake because she was filling in for Mrs. Piechowicz, her sister, behind the motel registration desk that day. Grandison was later convicted on the drug charges.

Grandison paid Vernon Lee Evans Jr. $9,000 to kill the Piechowiczes with an Ingram MAC-11 submachine gun, one of Baltimore's most notorious acts of drug violence.

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