A love triangle in Lothian led to a woman, her 13-year-old daughter and the daughter's 18-year-old boyfriend being involved in a double-murder, according to court records.
Police have charged Ann Marie Anastasi, 42; Gabriel Ezekiel Struss, 18, and a 13-year-old girl in the deaths of Anastasi's husband, Anthony Anastasi, 40, and Jacqueline Riggs, 25. Anthony Anastasi and Riggs were found dead in the Anastasis' home on West Bay Front Road on Oct. 5.
Ann Marie Anastasi and the 13-year-old were arrested on Thursday. Struss was arrested early Friday morning, police said.
Anne Arundel District Court Judge Thomas J. Pryal ordered Anastasi held without bond at a hearing Friday afternoon in Annapolis. The 42-year-old appeared in court via a live video feed from Jennifer Road Detention Center in Parole.
Anastasi remained calm and relatively quiet throughout the hearing, answering most of Pryal's questions with three-words.
In a rare move, Anne Arundel State's Attorney Wes Adams spoke on behalf of the state at the hearing, successfully arguing that Anastasi be held without bail.
She conspired with the teens to kill her husband and Riggs, and was "instrumental" in the subsequent cover-up attempt, Adams said.
According to information provided by pre-trial services at the hearing, Anastasi has five children ranging in age from 8 to 17. The 42-year-old has worked as a personal assistant for the past several years and had no prior criminal history.
She had been married to Anthony Anastasi for the past 18 years, police said on Friday.
"Miss Anastasi is very dangerous, in the very least (to) her other four children, and the public," Adams said.
She is charged with two counts each of first-degree and second-degree murder, as well as using a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. Struss has been charged with first- and second-degree murder as well as conspiracy and gun charges, according to court records.
Struss' bail review will take place on Monday, Adams said.
The 13-year-old is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and accessory after the fact, police said.
Although police and prosecutors have not identified the 13-year-old, charging documents for Ann Anastasi said she exchanged text messages with her 13-year-old daughter, Sara Anastasi, and another person about the murder.
The messages included discussion about the exchange of a handgun, transportation to the crime scene and concealment of an individual on the property, according to the documents.
Sara Anastasi was first enrolled in county public schools last year as a student at Southern Middle. She is a student this year at Mary Moss at J. Albert Adams Academy in Annapolis, said county schools spokesman Bob Mosier.
Struss had been enrolled at the Phoenix Academy in Annapolis earlier this year, but has since left, Maneka Monk a county schools spokeswoman said.
On Oct. 5, Anthony Anastasi was found dead in the master bedroom of his home on West Bay Front Road in Lothian. Riggs was found in the basement, where she lived.
Charging documents state Ann Anastasi reported her husband had committed suicide. A .45-caliber handgun was found on the bed next to him. A .380-caliber shell casing was found nearby.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore determined Anastasi's cause of death was a gunshot wound. Riggs' cause of death was multiple cut/stab wounds. An edged weapon believed to have been used in Riggs' murder was found at the home.
Riggs was an "associate" of the family and had been romantically involved with the Anastasis, police said.
Over the summer, Riggs moved into the Anastasis' home, which caused tension within the household, police said. The family, which included five children, was renting the 1,800-square-foot home, police said.
Anthony Anastasi and Riggs were still engaged in a sexual relationship, but Ann Anastasi was no longer involved, according to charging documents.
Within a short period of time, Ann Anastasi and the 13-year-old girl decided to have Riggs and Anthony Anastasi killed, police said.
The pair enlisted the aid of Struss to help commit the murders, police said.
During interviews with Ann and Sara Anastasi, their statements to investigators were found to be "inconsistent and misleading," according to charging documents.
A forensic examination found gunshot residue present on Ann Anastasi and her clothing, charging documents state.
A forensic examination of the .45-caliber handgun found next to Anthony Anastasi and the .380-calber shell casing concluded the gun didn't fire the projectile that resulted in the shell casing. The .380-calber projectile removed from Anthony Anastasi's head also was found not to have been fired from the .45-caliber handgun, charging documents state.
"Cases like this are very rare," Lt. Ryan Frashure, a county police spokesman, said when asked about the alleged conspiracy and the attempt to cover-up the crime scene. "This case could have very easily been construed as a murder suicide but the due diligence of the first responding patrol officers and the detectives that investigated the case we were able to determine that the evidence just did not add up."
Fred Paone, who prosecuted homicide cases for the Anne Arundel States Attorney's Office for 3 1/2 decades before retiring last year, called the case "unusual, to say the least."
Although, Paone, who is also an Annapolis Alderman in Ward 2, said that the State's Attorney's Office has encountered murders made to look like suicides before, he couldn't recall a case that had multiple co-conspirators.
News of the arrests attracted media throughout the region on Friday. Police reported receiving complaints from homeowners on West Bay Front Road about camera crews on their property.
Anthony Anastasi and Riggs' deaths are the 12th and 13th homicides in the county this year. There also has been one homicide in Annapolis.
Even with the arrests, police said the investigation is "very fluid and active."
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Police are urging anyone with information to call homicide detective Jason McNemar at 410-222-4756. If people with information wish to remain anonymous they can also contact the Anne Arundel County Police Tip Line 410-222-4700 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCKUP.