Juan Ignacio Blanco  


  MALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

  FEMALE murderers

index by country

index by name   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z




Murderpedia has thousands of hours of work behind it. To keep creating new content, we kindly appreciate any donation you can give to help the Murderpedia project stay alive. We have many
plans and enthusiasm to keep expanding and making Murderpedia a better site, but we really
need your help for this. Thank you very much in advance.









Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Drug dealer - Murders for hire
Number of victims: 2
Date of murders: April 28, 1983
Date of birth: 1950
Victims profile: David Scott Piechowicz and his sister-in-law Susan Kennedy
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1984 and 1994

Court of Appeals of Maryland

opinion 64 - 1994 opinion 16 - 2005

Anthony Grandison is an American drug dealer and murderer who is currently awaiting execution in Maryland. He was sentenced to death for ordering the killing of a pair of witnesses more than 25 years ago.

In 1982, Grandison was on parole after having served several years in prison for assaulting a DEA agent, carrying a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, a 1979 conviction that was sustained on appeal in 2003. While going through security at BWI Airport on his way to Miami a baggage screener noticed a substantial amount of cash in Grandison's luggage. The U.S. Marshals service later arrested him on suspicion of violating his parole, and a search of his belongings revealed a key for a room at the Warren House Motel (presently a Howard Johnson) in Pikesville, Maryland. A search of the room found a substantial amount of cocaine and heroin, which resulted in Grandison being indicted on federal drug charges.

Two key witnesses in the government's case were David Scott Piechowicz and his wife, Cheryl. David Piechowicz was the motel's manager, and he and Cheryl were the only two witnesses who could place Grandison in the room where the drugs were found. Cheryl's sister, Susan Kennedy, was filling in for her at work on the morning of April 28, 1983, when Vernon Evans, a hitman who had been hired by Grandison, entered the motel lobby and shot Susan and David 17 times. Despite the murder of her husband and sister, Cheryl Piechowicz testified against Grandison 12 days later at his federal drug trial, which ended in Grandison's conviction.

After the Warren House Motel killings, the U.S. government indicted Grandison and Evans along with two co-conspirators, Rodney Kelly (who was Grandison's nephew) and Janet Moore, on charges of witness tampering and conspiracy to violate the civil rights of David Piechowicz. The Baltimore County State's Attorney's office also indicted Grandison and Evans on charges of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony. Both of these cases led to convictions. Grandison was sentenced to life in the federal case, and received a death sentence after being convicted of state murder charges.

After several years of appeals, Grandison's original death sentence was vacated on the basis of inadequate jury instructions in July 1992, as a result of the Supreme Court's decision in another case, Mills v. Maryland. Another sentencing hearing was held, and in June 1994 a second jury again sentenced Grandison to die, because of the aggravating circumstance of the crime being a contractual murder for pay. This sentence was upheld on direct appeal by the Maryland Court of Appeals in 1995. Grandison's petition for post-conviction relief was denied in 1998, and his petition for federal habeas corpus relief was rejected by the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in 2000.

A further appeal to the Maryland Court of Appeals was denied in 2005. His execution is on hold because of an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment in Maryland.


On Maryland's Death Row: Anthony Grandison

By Vicki Kriz - Maryland Newsline

May 8, 2009

Anthony Grandison, convicted of murdering a man and his sister-in-law at a Baltimore County motel, has been on death row for almost 25 years.

Grandison, 59, was found guilty of the first-degree murders of David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy, Piechowicz’s sister-in-law. Both were killed at the Warren House Motel in Baltimore County on April 28, 1983, by Vernon Lee Evans Jr.

According to court documents, Evans was hired by Grandison to kill Piechowicz and his wife, Cheryl, for a payment of $9,000. The husband and wife were scheduled to testify against Grandison in a narcotics case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. But having never seen his targets in person, Evans mistakenly killed Kennedy, who was filling in for her sister (Piechowicz’s wife) at the motel where they were employees.

Indictments were filed against both Evans and Grandison in U.S. District Court for witness tampering and violating the Piechowiczes’ civil rights to act as witnesses in a judicial proceeding.

Evans and Grandison were convicted of these charges.

Four indictments were also filed against the two men in the Circuit Court of Baltimore County: two counts of first-degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of use of a handgun in the context of committing a crime of violence. Upon request, Grandison’s trial was transferred to the Circuit Court for Somerset County. He was convicted on all charges and received two death sentences in 1984. An appeal made that same year on the grounds that the death penalty was unconstitutional was denied.

In 1992, Grandison was granted a re-sentencing hearing in Somerset County Circuit Court. This hearing was the first time Janet Moore, Grandison’s girlfriend at the time of the crimes, offered testimony. She corroborated testimony made by previous witnesses.  

After only eight days, the jury again sentenced Grandison to death.

Grandison has filed many appeals with little success.

Due to an appeal made to the Maryland Court of Appeals by Evans, all executions in Maryland were put on hold in 2006 until the legislature approved a new protocol. The protocol is under review.

Anthony Grandison is one of the five men now on Maryland’s death row.


GRANDISON v. MARYLAND , 479 U.S. 873 (1986)

479 U.S. 873


No. 85-7165

Supreme Court of the United States

October 6, 1986

Rehearing Denied Dec. 1, 1986. See ___U.S.___.

On petition for writ of certiorari to the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice MARSHALL, with whom Justice BRENNAN joins, dissenting from denial of certiorari.

Petitioner Anthony Grandison was sentenced to death by an improperly instructed jury and did not have the benefit of representation at his sentencing hearing. Because I believe that the jury's instructions under the Maryland statute improperly shifted to petitioner the burden of disproving the appropriateness of his death sentence, and that the denial of a request for legal representation in the sentencing phase of a bifurcated capital proceeding constitutes a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, I dissent.


Petitioner was tried for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and use of a handgun in the commission of a crime of violence, for hiring someone to kill two witnesses scheduled to testify against him in his trial on federal drug charges. The jury found petitioner guilty on all charges and sentenced him to death. Petitioner claims that the Maryland capital sentencing statute and the verdict sheet provided to the jury improperly imposed upon [479 U.S. 873 , 874]   him the burden of proof at the sentencing phase. I continue to believe that this issue is worthy of review. See Huffington v. Maryland, --- U.S . ___ (1986) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari); Stebbing v. Maryland, 469 U.S. 900 (1984) (MARSHALL, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari).

The State argues that petitioner's claim is foreclosed by a state court construction of the statute holding that the prosecution bears the burden of persuasion. See Foster v. State, 304 Md. 439, 476-480, 499 A.2d 1236, 1256-1257 (1985). In this case, however, the jury was provided with a verdict sheet that unambiguously directed the jurors to return a sentence of death unless mitigating circumstances outweighed aggravating circumstances. The Maryland Court of Appeals may construe the statute to avoid any constitutional difficulty. But the trial court's instructions and the verdict form submitted to the jury must reflect that construction. Here, the verdict form did not; the constitutional infirmity therefore remains undiminished.


At his arraignment, petitioner asserted the right to represent himself under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 d 562 (1975). Petitioner was informed of his right to counsel, the dangers of self-representation, and the advantages of having counsel to assist at trial and sentencing. Petitioner nonetheless chose to proceed pro se. He was granted the right to have "standby" counsel, but conducted his own defense. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts.

At the first scheduled sentencing proceeding, petitioner asked the court to appoint the lawyer who had served as standby counsel to represent him in the sentencing proceeding. He also sought a continuance, since neither he nor his counsel was prepared to go forward. The court refused to terminate petitioner's self-representation, stating:

"Once the decision is made regarding self-representation, if it is properly made prior to trial, the request to change rests solely within the discretion of the trial court. The right must be timely asserted. It must be asserted before the trial starts. Of course, this is not timely asserted. Whether we continue with it or not, what I am inclined to do about self-representation is leave it just like it is, and let [standby counsel] take over and handle the proceeding as standby counsel [479 U.S. 873 , 875]   with Mr. Grandison's permission. Grandison will still be the attorney." Pet. for Cert. 8-9.

Moreover, the court instructed standby counsel, "Keep in mind, Mr. Crawford, you are not the attorney in this. Mr. Grandison is his own attorney. You are just kind of a law clerk." Pet for Cert. 9. The court granted an eight-day continuance; at the reconvened sentencing hearing, it again made clear that Grandison was representing himself, albeit with the assistance of standby counsel.

Assuming for the sake of argument that in a non -bifurcated criminal proceeding a trial judge could in some circumstances deny a defendant who initially asserted his right to represent himself the right to later change his mind and proceed with counsel, such a rule would not imply that a waiver of counsel in the guilt phase of a capital proceeding requires a defendant to proceed pro se, against his will, in the sentencing phase. The Maryland Court of Appeals cursorily dismissed petitioner's claim that, because capital sentencing constituted a separate trial, he was entitled to make a new decision about whether he wanted counsel or not. Grandison v. State, 305 Md. 685, 752, 506 A.2d 580, 613 (1986). I find this claim worthy of considerably more attention than the Maryland court gave it.

In Bullington v. Missouri, 451 U.S. 430 (1981), this Court held that the Double Jeopardy clause applied to the sentencing phase of a bifurcated trial. It did so because it found that a sentencing hearing was like a separate trial. "The presentence hearing resembled and, indeed, in all relevant respects was like the immediately preceding trial on the issue of guilt or innocence. It was itself a trial on the issue of punishment." Id., at 438. Under the Maryland statute, Md.Crim.Law Code Ann. Art. 27, 413 (1982 & Cum.Supp. 1985), sentencing is similarly a separate adversarial proceeding, see 413(a). It may require selection of a new jury, see 413(b)(2)(i)-(iv). Evidence is offered, 413(c)(1); the parties may present argument, 413( c)(2); the jury is instructed, 413(c)(3); and the jury deliberates and determines sentence. The Maryland proceeding is in all respects a separate trial on the issue of punishment. The waiver of the right to counsel at the first "trial" on guilt or innocence should therefore have no more bearing on a defendant's right to counsel in the sentencing phase than it would on that defendant's right to counsel in a separate trial on related crimes. It should under no circumstances irrevocably bind a defendant in the sentencing phase. [479 U.S. 873 , 876]   The trial court articulated no basis for refusing petitioner's request to appoint counsel. Even at midtrial in a non-bifurcated proceeding, a trial court's unexplained refusal to permit a defendant to revoke his assertion of the right to self-representation would surely constitute an abuse of discretion. A trial court cannot insist that a defendant continue representing himself out of some punitive notion that that defendant, having made his bed, should be compelled to lie in it. Yet in this case, where petitioner's right to counsel was triggered anew by the start of a new trial on the issue of punishment, the trial court refused, entirely without justification, to permit him to assert that right to counsel. This refusal deprived petitioner of his constitutional right to be represented during his sentencing hearing. Accordingly, I dissent.*

Justice SCALIA took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition.


I note in addition that petitioner raises issues related to those that will be before the Court in California v. Brown, 85-1563, to be argued later this Term. I would at the very least delay disposition of this petition until that case is decided



home last updates contact