ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Accused of killing three people in an Anchorage gold shop, Anthony Pisano’s trial began Wednesday. In a crammed courtroom of friends and family of the victims, those in attendance heard two very different accounts of what happened.
The victims, in this case, were all at Bullion Brother’s in Anchorage at the time of the shooting. Steven Cook was one of the owners. Kenneth Hartman and Daniel McCreadie lived in apartments connected to the building who are the other two who were shot and killed. Pisano was working there as a security guard at the time.
Opening statements began with the State. Brittany Dunlop described the store as the ‘Cheers’ of gold stores where the owners and employees did business the old fashioned way; completing business deals with handshakes and keeping transactions on hand-written records.
The State brought up Pisano’s long military background and how there have been descriptions of him being a violent person. However, their case was based around Pisano being in desperate need of money.
“He had a mortgage, he had a fifth-wheel trailer, he’s got a brand new suburban, he’s got outstanding credit card debt of upwards of $80,000 to $90,000,” Dunlop said.
So they went off the argument that the shooting was a planned robbery gone wrong.
Dunlop continued to show the jury snippets of videos to come in the trial. She showed images of the safe where money and extra gold and silver were kept, telling the jury that there’s video of Pisano checking where it was kept.
The State described the establishment as somewhat laid-back. Although she explained that everyone who worked there was often armed. They continued to their argument of happened just before the shooting.
“He’s allowed to kind of wander around back there and he shuts off the DVR, the security recording system,” she said, “16 minutes later, Mike Dupree is on the phone with the police. His best friend, Steve [Cook] has been shot. According to Mike Dupree, out of nowhere.”
Dupree was the other owner at Bullion’s. He is a key player in the Defense’s argument.
“Anthony Pisano did not shoot Steven Cook,” said Kevin Fitzgerald, Pisano’s attorney, “His business partner, Michael Dupree did. Anthony Pisano did shoot Daniel McCreadie and Kenneth Hartman, but he did so in self-defense.”
The State described Bullion’s as a business where the owners were a couple of old pals with entrepreneurial spirits, making business notes on the back of napkins. The Defense described it as a business with a poor business model which eventually put a strain on Dupree and Cook’s relationship.
Both sides made it a point that the owners were ready to try new things professionally. The State made it sound like it was an amicable agreement, and the Defense made it sound like they were in a financial hole and Dupree wanted out.
Fitzgerald cited logs where the two bickered over transactions and scheduling. Part of the business was selling items in the store on eBay. This area of their business model struck up an argument, which apparently was a frequent issue.
“Despite the fact that they fought often, not physically, but were at each other often,” he said, “this one spilled into actual physical confrontation.”
From there the Defense told a story of Pisano acting as a security guard and trying to break it up. Their theory is that the gun that shot Cook, Pisano’s handgun, apparently fell from its concealed carry holster. He said Dupree then picked it up and shot Cook.
Fitzgerald said then Dupree fled with Pisano’s gun. Then Pisano picked up Cook’s gun and a shootout happened where McCreadie and Hartman walked in at the wrong time.
The Defense claimed McCreadie took aim at Pisano and Pisano held a gun up to McCreadie. Hartman began walking in from upstairs.
The story was that McCreadie and Hartman were talking about shooting Pisano. McCreadie got distracted, Pisano shot him when his head turned, then thought Hartman had a gun and shot him six times in self-defense.
Phone logs showed that Pisano made a lot of calls before 911, some of them to Anchorage Police Department officers. It was 17 minutes before he called 911.
Before the court let out, two calls from dispatch were played. One was Mike Dupree’s and the other, Hartman’s wife. You could hear Dupree talking about having the other gun, and taking the ammunition out of it and meeting authorities.
Just 10 minutes before they were done for the day, Dupree took the stand. The State questioned him, but they only got as far as beginning to talk about his relationship with Cook.
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