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The year 2009 was a tough one. The economy went down the drain, foreclosures jumped, the city and state budgets required trimming with a chain saw and a bank robbery spree hit the area.
I've been with the Ahwatukee Foothills News since May 1997, reporting on everything from education, to government, to cops and courts. On the Beat gives me a chance to write about the fun, odd, or interesting things I see that would, in many cases, never make it into the paper itself.
The second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka quickly turned testy Wednesday, the first full day of testimony.
Grace Pianka, on trial after being charged with murdering her husband, confers with her defense team on July 29.
Jury selection is expected to continue Monday in the murder trial of Grace Pianka, 51, accused of killing her husband Adam Kostewicz in the couple's Ahwatukee Foothills home April 15, 2006.
Grace Pianka (inset) is charged with the second-degree murder of her husband, Adam Kostewicz (left).
The trial of Grace Pianka began Tuesday afternoon with two different versions of how her husband, Adam Kostewicz, died April 15, 2006.
A jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon in the second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka.
Judge Andrew Klein listens to an objection at the bench during the second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka Monday.
Virginia McIntyre has still not been found and isn't expected to testify for the prosecution in the second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka.
A key witness in the murder trial of Grace Pianka (pictured) is not expected to testify.
The trial of Grace Pianka was tentatively scheduled to begin Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court in downtown Phoenix with opening statements by the prosecution and the defense.Pianka, 50, is charged with the second-degree murder of her husband, Adam Kostewicz, 41, in 2006 after she discovered he was having an affair and planning to leave. Police say that he returned to the couple's home in the 16600 block of 30th Drive to get some clothes the night of April 15, 2006, when an argument broke out and neighbors said they saw Pianka speed away from the home.Several hours later Kostewicz's body was discovered by police after the other woman called, worried about his whereabouts.The next day, Pianka was found in a fetal position by a Yavapi County deputy sheriff in Bagdad, Ariz., after a suicide attempt.But Pianka's defense attorneys hope to turn the case around, suggesting that the other woman, Virginia McIntyre, may have killed Kostewicz to gain control of his estate.While several judges have been skeptical of the motive, testimony in court indicates that McIntyre and her husband do owe the IRS more than $400,000 in back taxes and the couple have moved from Gilbert and refuse to tell the Maricopa County Attorney's Office of their location, although they do say they will appear to testify in the case.The trial is scheduled to run three to four weeks before Judge Andrew Klein.If found guilty, Pianka faces up to 22 years in prison.For daily updates visit the Ahwatukee Foothills News home page at ahwatukee.com.
Grace Pianka (left) is charged with the second-degree murder of her husband, Adam Kostewicz.