Pretrial testimony of Scott Piechowicz, the 27-year-old Prince George's County man who was shot to death April 28 in a gangland-style execution at the Pikesville hotel he managed, was read today before a U.S. District Court jury that is trying a Baltimore man accused of a drug conspiracy.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Herbert Better sat in the witness stand that Piechowicz would have occupied and recited the hotel manager's testimony at two March hearings preceding the trial of Anthony Grandison, 30. The testimony centered on items Piechowicz found in a room of the Warren House Hotel allegedly occupied by Grandison.
At the hearings, Piechowicz testified that last November a man and two women tried to enter the hotel room. He said one of the women told him the occupant had been arrested and that she was his sister and wanted to pick up his belongings.
Piechowicz said the woman gave him a phone number to verify the story, but a person answering the number said he worked for the FBI. When he was informed of events at the hotel, an FBI agent told the manager to make an inventory of items in the room, but not to let anyone claim them. It was then, Piechowicz testified, that he discovered a handgun and drug paraphernalia in an overnight bag.
Federal authorities, who had arrested Grandison for a parole violation, said they subsequently obtained a search warrant and found a cache of heroin and cocaine valued at $351,600 in a locked tote bag. Grandison was indicted on charges of possession of a handgun and possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.
Grandison's attorney has claimed that the defendant neither registered for nor occupied the room. Yesterday prosecutors presented a surprise witness who testified that he rented the room for Grandison in exchange for two bags of heroin.
On April 28 Piechowicz and his 19-year-old sister-in-law, Susan Kennedy, who was also due to testify as a prosecution witness, were slain at the hotel's front desk. In court testimony yesterday, the manager's wife, Cheryl Piechowicz, who claimed in news interviews that the assassin's bullets were really meant for her, testified that she saw Grandison in the hotel.
If convicted, Grandison, who was in jail at the time of the slayings, could face a maximum of 35 years in prison.
The prosecution rested its case after Better read Piechowicz's testimony. On Wednesday, Grandison and his attorney are to determine whether the defendant will take the stand. Afterward, final arguments will be heard and the case will be turned over to the jurors, who have been sequestered because of publicity generated by the slayings.