Pianka jury begins deliberations - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

Pianka jury begins deliberations

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 11:00 pm

A jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon in the second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka.

According to closing arguments made by both attorneys, there are two different explanations for how Adam Kostewicz ended up dead - shot four times - in his Ahwatukee Foothills bedroom on April 15, 2006.

The prosecution said there were only two people in the home at 7 p.m.: Pianka, who had just learned her husband was having an affair and planning to leave, and Kostewicz, who was packing his clothing and collecting his shaving gear. The couple argued and Pianka shot Kostewicz, then realized what she had done and fled, forgetting to put on shoes or collect her cell phone, the prosecution said. The next day she was found in Yavapai County after attempting suicide.

"She tried to commit suicide because of the futility of the situation," Deputy County Attorney Cleve Lynch told the jury. "There's just no way to get out of shooting your husband."

But Ulises Ferragut, one of two defense attorneys for Pianka, had another theory: Virginia McIntyre killed her lover, Kostewicz, when the couple quarreled. He said she then staged the evidence that Kostewicz was gathering his clothes to leave and return to the Mesa hotel the two had shared that day, where he said she then made a phone call to Phoenix police to begin establishing an alibi.

"Perhaps Adam had enough. We don't know," Ferragut said. "But what we do know, and what you have heard, is that Jen McIntyre is a very volatile person. We believe Jen McIntyre killed Adam."

Adding weight to the argument is that McIntyre ignored a subpoena to testify and has been hiding in another state, despite an arrest warrant being issued by the court to force her to testify for the prosecution as a material witness.

"I bet all of you have a few questions for her, I sure do," Ferragut said, looking at the jury.

Lynch also said he wished she had testified, but that the evidence clearly pointed to Pianka killing her husband over the affair and that what Ferragut offered was just conjecture and theories.

"It's not evidence, it's just some theories," Lynch said.

The biggest theory was at the end of Ferragut's closing arguments when he suggested that McIntyre lost a finger nail when she used her thumb to cock the murder weapon and that a small, white speck in a police photo was the missing nail lying next to Kostewicz's body.

But when Lynch blew the photo up for jurors the white speck was not a fingernail.

Instead, Lynch said to compare Pianka's and McIntyre's actions that night: that Pianka drove away at a high rate of speed, leaving behind her shoes and cell phone, drove aimlessly until finally ending up in Bagdad, Ariz., where she attempted suicide using the only thing she had in the car, some aspirin. He said at the same time McIntyre was afraid something had happened to Kostewicz when he didn't return to the hotel so she went to the house, saw his body in a window, and then called police. He said McIntyre stayed until the early hours answering questions and that she came back for several police interviews and three interviews by defense attorneys before finally deciding she had enough and fled.

 

More Pianka Trial coverage:

Pianka testifies in own murder trial: 'I loved him' (8/12)

Prosecution rests in murder case Tuesday morning (8/12)

Jury in Pianka case finally hears from witness -- on tape (8/11)

Audio: 9-1-1 call (8/8)

Audio: Pianka interview with police (8/8)

Prosecution in Pianka trial wraps up case without witness (8/7)

Key witness in Pianka trial not expected to testify (8/6)

'Other woman' in Pianka murder trial fails to show (8/4)

Judge issues warrant for key witness in Pianka trial (8/4)

Murder case slowly unfolds (7/31)

Key witness refuses to appear at murder trial (7/31)

Local woman's murder trial underway (7/29)

Wife's murder trial to begin Tuesday (7/28)

Murder trial set to open Tuesday (7/25)

Foothills murder trial ready to begin (7/21)

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