Judge to weigh releasing triple-murder suspect on bail
What was scheduled as a bail hearing for Anthony Pisano, 43, Thursday, turned into a defense attorney and prosecutor arguing to a judge for almost an hour-and-a-half over whether there should even be a bail hearing before the judge ruled to move forward with considering a bail proposal.
Pisano is indicted on first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Bullion Brothers owner Steven Cook, 31, 48-year-old Kenneth Hartman and 31-year-old Daniel McCreadie.
Anchorage Police said in a previous statement that their investigation found Pisano “started a fight with the owner for unknown reasons, pulled out a gun and shot [Cook] multiple times,” then shot Hartman and McCreadie, who were residents of the building.
Pisano is, according to his defense attorney, suffering from a medical condition that has required treatment in Seattle since he's been incarcerated. He's back at the Anchorage Jail, but defense attorney Julia Moudy told the judge he can better follow his discharge instructions if he's on house arrest.
Moudy shared several facts about the case she says she's learned since Pisano's last bail hearing, including that autopsy reports from the victims show all three had marijuana in their systems, and one was under the influence of hydrocodone, and that police received two anonymous Crime Stoppers tips suggesting they investigate the State's key witness as a suspect.
The State's new point system for releasing suspects awaiting trial was also part of her argument as to why Pisano should get another chance at being released on bail. The risk assessment is a component of SB91 that just took effect on January 1 this year.
"He's an innocent person. He's not just like a person who's been convicted and sentenced and given to Department of Corrections who has to just get what he gets, he's an innocent man who has a constitutional right to bail, the least restrictive bail. He has no criminal history. All of the factors under the new statute show that he is not at risk for failing to appear. He is not at risk for violating his conditions of release," said Moudy.
Assistant District Attorney John Darnall, who is prosecuting the case, argued the new discovery evidence Moudy shared didn't relate to whether Pisano should be released on bail pending his trial, saying his release would put members in the community in fear of their own safety.
Ultimately, Superior Court Judge Erin Marston agreed to move forward with the bail hearing but said there is more to take into account beyond Pisano's good ratings under the State's new pretrial risk assessment.
"The facts here are that there were three people shot and killed within five minutes of each other,' said Judge Marston, noting that one of the victims was unarmed, and two of them are what he would potentially consider "good Samaritans", as they reportedly came to see what was going on once shots were fired.
"It's not a crime of passion where people get, you know, sort of a love triangle or anything, here this, to me, appears to be a little bit more calculated."
According to charging documents in the case, Pisano called Anchorage Police Sgt. Dragano twice after the shooting, stating he "got involved in something and it got really bad". Pisano also reportedly told the sergeant he worked security at the jewelry store. He continued, documents allege, to say he managed to get out of the business as shots began to ring out.
Charging documents also noted that while the store did have surveillance video, the video for the day of the shooting stopped about 40 minutes before the incident occurred.
Judge Marston noted in court that court documents he has allege Pisano was involved in installing the surveillance system in the business, was suffering from economic stress at the time and had borrowed money from the victims.
It was said in court Thursday that Pisano called multiple APD officers on their off-duty lines on the day of the shooting between the time he left the Spenard business and was taken into custody near the Dimond Boulevard overpass at Minnesota Drive.
Judge Marson also said he heard Pisano, "is trained in tactical fighting including handguns," and "in fact, he was helping to train APD in some of those things."
U.S. Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell says Pisano had been assigned to the Anchorage-based 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division until July 31, when he left the Army as a sergeant first class. Pisano’s last assignment within the 4/25 had been with its headquarters section.
Pisano was not present in the courtroom Thursday. The bail hearing is set to resume on Thursday, January 11.
KTVA has requested details from APD regarding Pisano's alleged contact with the Department prior to the shooting but has not yet received an answer.
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