Anchorage man’s fate again before a jury in Spenard triple homicide

a man in a suit with black glasses on at his trial in court.
Anthony Pisano, accused of killing three men in 2017, sits at his second trial at Nesbett Courthouse in Anchorage on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

A second Anchorage jury is now judging whether a man facing an array of financial problems murdered three men at a Spenard gold business six years ago.

The prosecution and defense gave their 90-minute closing arguments Thursday in the latest trial of 49-year-old Anthony Pisano. An earlier jury heard the state’s initial case against Pisano in the Sept. 12, 2017 deaths of Steven Cook, Kenneth Hartman and Daniel McCreadie, but failed to reach a verdict causing a 2020 mistrial.

Anchorage District Attorney Brittany Dunlop, the prosecutor in both trials, again laid out the state’s theory of the crime Thursday. Prosecutors have said Pisano was close to the two owners of The Bullion Brothers shop. Dunlop told jurors that Pisano had recently retired with over $90,000 in revolving credit-card debt and faced what she called “crushing pressure” on his finances – pressures that led him to target the business. She characterized it as a botched robbery.

Dunlop conceded that the state hadn’t proven a motive for the crime, but said that it didn’t need to. She urged jurors to reject alternate theories from the defense and convict Pisano of first-degree murder in the killings.

“In truth there’s only one murderer, ladies and gentlemen, and that’s Anthony Pisano,” Dunlop told a roughly half-filled courtroom.

Kevin Fitzgerald, Pisano’s attorney in both cases, claimed the first man to open fire was the state’s star witness, Michael DuPree – who was also present at the shooting and co-owned the shop with Cook. He testified that  he had fought with Pisano, ran away and called 911. But according to Fitzgerald it was DuPree who shot Cook, prompting a shootout during which Pisano shot Hartman and McCreadie – who lived in nearby apartments and headed to the scene – in self-defense.

Fitzgerald said forensic evidence from the scene including bullet impacts and blood patterns called the state’s account into question.

“I’ll leave you with this: How does this happen?” Fitzgerald said. “Well, it happens because there’s a rush to judgment.”

Dunlop countered during the state’s 40-minute rebuttal that the bullet impacts and blood patterns proved that Hartman was shot in the back of the head, execution-style. She reiterated both Pisano’s Army service as a trained shooter and acquaintances who claimed at trial that he wasn’t credible. 

Attorneys for both sides thanked the jury for its patience during the second trial’s proceedings, which had been significantly delayed by the COVID pandemic.

The jury will now decide whether Pisano killed the three men, and if so how culpable he is for the alleged crime.

Pisano faces three counts of first-degree murder and six counts of second-degree murder in the case, plus a count of third-degree assault. First-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 99 years.

a portrait of a man outside

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him more about Chrishere.

Previous articleMotivation, parenting, and learning from mistakes | Line One: Your Health Connection
Next articleDomestic Violence in Alaska: Advocates link Alaska’s high rate of traumatic brain injury with domestic violence