For the first time yesterday, a member of Gwyn Dixon Criswell's family attended a court proceeding for her accused murderer, Steven Gregory Anderson. Her 21-year-old son winced when a jail guard testified that Anderson had threatened him by saying: "You see what I did to that girl in Crofton? I had her carried away in a pine box. That's what I'll do to you and your family."
The guard's testimony came on thesecond day of motion hearings in preparation for Anderson's capital trial, scheduled to begin Feb. 4.
Lawyers for Anderson unsuccessfully sought to persuade a judge todisallow the guard's testimony during trial. Daniel M. Sillaman testified that, as part of a suicide watch, he was making checks on Anderson every 15 minutes early Oct. 14, 1990. The guard said that when hedenied Anderson's request for a cigarette during one check, the prisoner responded by exposing himself and making the threat.
Defense attorney Robert H. Waldman questioned the guard on rules regarding inmates' smoking and asked him whether he had taunted Anderson, a smoker, by smoking in front of him. Circuit Judge H. Chester Goudy Jr. rejected Waldman's argument that the guard's testimony should not be allowed at trial because Anderson was "provoked" into making the statement.
Goudy has been asked to rule on more than 30 pretrial motions,including a contention by the defense that the state should be barred from seeking the death penalty because Anderson would probably die of AIDS before he could be executed.
Court records show that Anderson has offered to plead guilty to charges of first-degree murder andrape in exchange for a sentence of life without parole. His lawyers are arguing that Maryland's death penalty law is unconstitutional andthat his case should be dismissed because Anne Arundel County's juryselection system is unconstitutional.
They also are asking the judge to throw out a confession Anderson gave to police.
Anderson, 31, is charged with the September 1990 rape and slaying of Criswell, a41-year-old mother of two from Crofton who went shopping on a Sundaymorning and was never again seen alive. Her body was found the following day in the woods behind the Crofton library.
Prosecutor Cynthia M. Ferris said yesterday that the woman had been strangled and bludgeoned.