The murder trial of Michael Anthony Brown, a Mount Airy man accused of murdering his stepfather-in-law and business partner in 2019, began last week in Carroll County Circuit Court. Closing arguments are expected Thursday, according to Jennifer Brady of the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office. Brady is prosecuting the case.
The trial began May 10 with jury selection at Carroll County Circuit Court in Westminster.
Brown was arrested in October 2020 and charged with the murder of Robert Gurecki, 56, of Hagerstown, who was found shot to death May 3, 2019 at Retro Environmental Inc., in Eldersburg. Gurecki had been president of Retro Environmental since 2011 and was a partner at the Washington, D.C., construction company Rath Enterprises, with Brown. Brown is married to Gurecki’s stepdaughter.
Joe Pappafotis, of the Baltimore firm Alperstein & Diener, is representing Brown at trial. Efforts to reach Pappafotis this week for comment were unsuccessful.
During Brown’s 2020 bail hearing, Brady outlined the state’s case and the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office investigation. She said Gurecki died of a gunshot wound to the head and was found with $1,600 in cash and a Rolex watch on his left wrist, ruling out robbery as a motive.
Brady stated that video surveillance shows Brown arriving at Retro Environmental at 6:30 p.m. on May 3, and leaving at 6:49 p.m., that day. “No one else is seen exiting or entering on May 3,” Brady told the court.
Brady also suggested that Brown was in debt after having purchased a $629,000 home in 2018 on a $104,000 annual salary, and said he had multiple past-due bills. After Gurecki’s death, Brady said Brown and his wife received $562,488 from a trust and that they subsequently went on a “spending spree” that included paying off credit cards and student loans, purchasing an RV, and putting in a pool.
A guilty verdict would bring a maximum sentence of life in prison plus 20 years, Brady said.
During the 2020 bail hearing, Pappafotis acknowledged the seriousness of the charges, but said that Brown had no prior criminal record and referred to the state’s case as “circumstantial.”