Grand jury indicts Thanos in 2 Labor Day slayings


John Frederick Thanos has been formally indicted by the Baltimore County grand jury in the slayings of two Middle River teen-agers who were shot Sept. 3 by a gasoline station bandit.

The charges came exactly one month after Melody Pistorio, 14, and her boyfriend, Billy Winebrenner, 16, were each shot once in the head during the Labor Day robbery of the Big Red gasoline station in the 9000 block of Pulaski Highway.

Thanos, 41, already had been charged with murder in the case of Pistorio and attempted murder in the case of Winebrenner, who did not die of his wound until Sept. 9.

Yesterday's indictment charged Thanos with two counts each of first-degree murder, armed robbery and use of a handgun in the commission of a felony.

Sue A. Schenning, a deputy state's attorney in Baltimore County who is prosecuting the case, said a decision "has not been made yet" on whether to pursue the death penalty.

Prosecutors in Worcester County, where Thanos was indicted last week in the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Gregory A. Taylor, 18, of Salisbury, will seek the death penalty, said Randall Coates, state's attorney for Worcester.

The soonest Thanos might be tried in the Taylor slaying would be "early February," said Coates.

Thanos also is facing charges of attempted murder, armed robbery and robbery with a deadly weapon in Wicomico County, where authorities allege he shot a convenience store clerk. They also say Thanos robbed a taxi driver, who escaped harm after being locked in the trunk of the cab.

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