Man convicted of shooting motorist hangs himself in cell No indication of tendency toward suicide, lawyer says

September 18, 1998|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

Alejandro Jose Grant, who killed a motorist last year in an act of road rage, carried out the death sentence he begged for but didn't get.

Grant, 27, was found hanged in his Prince George's County jail cell Wednesday afternoon, two days after he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting a 19-year-old college student Oct. 8, after her car accidentally bumped his bicycle at a busy intersection near the Capital Beltway.

While horrified motorists looked on, Grant calmly pulled a gun out of his backpack and shot Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez point-blank in the head after she pulled over to check on his condition.

The story made national news as another example of society gone crazy, the tragic consequences of a man with a history of violent outbursts having access to a handgun.

In August, a Prince George's Circuit Court jury took 90 minutes to find Grant guilty of first-degree murder and using a handgun in the commission of a felony.

The Silver Spring man was not on a suicide watch when he wrapped a piece of bedsheet around his neck and hanged himself from the bunk bed frame. He was pronounced dead at the scene, jail officials said.

"There was nothing in his background, nothing that would lead you to believe he would hurt himself," Assistant Public Defender Clayton Aarons said yesterday.

But the Silver Spring man had a history of trying to hurt others.

Grant was arrested in Montgomery County last year for assaulting an off-duty police officer who was escorting him from a bar. In 1995, he was charged with aggravated assault for beating a Washington bar owner with brass knuckles. In 1991, he pleaded guilty to battery for striking a Prince George's police officer.

"Fortunately for those people and fortunately for himself, he was not armed," said Aarons. "He had problems that don't rise to the level of insanity, but behavior problems that lead to it down the road."

Before his sentencing Monday, Grant punched a deputy sheriff and bragged about the killing. In the courtroom, he wept and asked Judge Sheila Tillerson-Adams for the death penalty, saying he didn't "really feel like living."

The judge called Grant "a danger to society" and rejected Aarons' request to have his client placed at the Patuxent Institution for psychiatric treatment.

"He was upset during the sentencing," said Aarons. "I guess the signs were there, but we didn't see them because he was acting out."

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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