Pianka trial continues with testy testimony - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

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Pianka trial continues with testy testimony

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Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 11:00 pm

The second-degree murder trial of Grace Pianka quickly turned testy Wednesday, the first full day of testimony.  

Prosecutor Cleve Lynch attempted to pin down the time police allege Pianka killed her husband, Adam Kostewicz, on April 15, 2006 in the couple's Ahwatukee Foothills home, while defense attorney Alicia Dominguez hammered on statements made by a neighbor over the past three years that she said were inconsistent.  

The neighbor, Jayson Daniel, testified that he heard a fire alarm go off, then saw Pianka speed away from the couple's home on South 30th Drive.  

"She was very frantic. Her face was wet, not just crying, but wet with tears," he told the jury Wednesday.  

The prosecution believes it's an important detail to the case because they contend that Daniel saw Pianka just minutes after allegedly shooting her husband and that she was running from a murder.  

Dominguez, however, questioned the neighbor on inconsistencies in past statements, including the size of dog that Pianka had in her car as she fled. Pianka's defense attorney read from an old transcript: "And I asked you at the time, ‘What kind of dog did it sound like?' And you said, ‘A small dog,'" read Dominguez. "And I said, ‘A small dog?' And you said, ‘Yes.' And I said, ‘Alright,' and you said, ‘A small little, yippy, yap-yap dog.' Do you remember making those statements?"  

"I don't remember making that (statement)," said an exasperated Daniel. "I'm going to make an assumption here and say that if you were talking to me at that point like you are today, I probably just told you what I needed to get the hell out of there," Daniel said.  

Later, the jury heard Lynch and another court employee read a transcript of Pianka's testimony from her first trial in August. Lynch said the extensive reading was necessary so jurors can see for themselves that Pianka knew she killed her husband. 

Police allege Pianka killed her husband after discovering Kostewicz was having an affair and was making plans to leave his wife.  

The defense says that the other woman, Jen McIntyre, had the motive and resources to kill Kostewicz.  

Adding to Pianka's defense, and specifically concerning McIntyre, is the fact that she apparently has fled the state and cannot be located.  

The first trial, which ended in a hung jury last summer, occurred in part because four of the jurors said Pianka was guilty while four others disagreed and said the prosecution could never prove that Pianka, 51, fired the fatal shots.  

Testimony continues Thursday morning with the trial expected to run through March in Maricopa County Superior Court.  

If found guilty, Pianka faces up to 22 years in prison.

Visit ahwatukee.com for updates.

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