A Prince William County judge sent the homicide case of Michael Carl George, of Stafford County, to a grand jury Tuesday after a two-hour preliminary hearing in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
A grand jury will decide Monday if George, 32, will be indicted in the killing of 15-year-old Alexander Sztanko, whose body was found on Father's Day in the power lines area, south of Cardinal Drive near Interstate 95. The youth had been shot in the head and records indicate he may have been tortured with a stun gun.
The grand jury also will decide if George, who has been held without bail at the Prince William jail since his arrest on June 17, will be charged with capital murder, said Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert.
Gail and Attila Sztanko had reported their son missing to police about midnight June 17. He was last seen about 2 p.m. June 16, when he left on his motorized dirt bike to go riding in the woods along Cardinal Drive.
George, a $20,000-a-year civilian computer operator at Quantico Marine Base, served 2 1/2 years in state prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter in 1983 in the death of 8-year-old Larry Perry of Dumfries, who disappeared May 22, 1979, near the spot where Sztanko was found.
Seven witnesses testified during Tuesday's hearing, including George's father, Carl, who showed no emotion and did not look at his son as he passed within a foot of him on his way to the witness stand.
Carl George testified that his son had not been home on June 16. He said his son's car was seen about 10 a.m. the next day, but that Michael George did not attend a Father's Day barbecue at the house on the afternoon of June 17.
The Georges learned that their son had been arrested that night when Investigator Richard Cantarella came to their home to inspect Michael's room, Carl George said.
Cantarella testified that he seized a 9mm Beretta semiautomatic handgun from the top of a cedar chest in Michael George's room, a gun that police believe was used in the slaying.
Prince William County Officer Scott Dillon, who arrested George on a trespassing charge about 11 a.m. June 17, testified that he had first seen a 1989 Ford Bronco parked on a dirt pull-out just off Cardinal Drive near I-95 about 3:30 p.m. June 16.
He said his suspicion was aroused when he saw the same car as police searched for Sztanko. He saw George about 10:45 a.m. June 17 as he "ran low" along a dirt embankment on Cardinal Drive. A few seconds later, George leaned over and moved 10 to 15 feet into the woods, before standing up and walking toward Dillon, he said.
"I observed his demeanor, he was extremely nervous and his dress was unusual," Dillon said. "He was dressed in camouflage pants, shirt and hat. And he had on black leather gloves . . . . When I asked for ID and he removed his gloves and took out his wallet, his hands were shaking."
George told the officer that he was in the woods "looking for a place to go turkey hunting," Dillon said, adding that George first told him he had not been in the area on the previous day, but changed his story after Dillon told him he had seen his car.
Dillon said he found Alex Sztanko's shoes near where George had ducked in the woods.