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TRUMBULL COUNTY Costanzo to remain in custody



Published: Thu, April 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The attorney appeared in court looking disheveled.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

CLEVELAND -- For more than 15 years, Maridee Costanzo was known around the courts and jails of Trumbull County as a colorful attorney who defended some of the area's worst.

Those outside the legal system might have known her as an unsuccessful candidate for Congress.

In recent weeks she became known as the woman accused of having a loaded gun tucked in her pants when police pulled over a car in Howland Township.

Today she is in federal custody.

Monday hearing

Costanzo is awaiting a preliminary hearing, scheduled for Monday in U.S. District Court here, on charges she tried to hire a hit man to kill Atty. Roger Bauer, her estranged husband and former law partner.

Wearing a blue business suit, Costanzo appeared in court Wednesday looking disheveled. She sat next to her attorney, Tom Zena of Boardman, for the first reading of the charges against her.

"She, like most clients, was upset when she found out that she wouldn't be able to get bond and would have to stay in custody," Zena said. He added that the 46-year-old, who denied the charges, was uncharacteristically quiet.

"She's not doing very well," Zena said, noting that his client was taken to the hospital Tuesday, shortly after she was arrested, because of a panic attack. She's now being held in the Medina County jail, Zena said.

"All she really asked about today was her dogs," Zena said. "She was just concerned about her dogs."

The arrest

FBI agents arrested Costanzo Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Trumbull County Family Court. Agents took Costanzo back to her home, and it appeared they searched it for several hours.

It is not known whether FBI agents took anything from the home. Zena said agents also went to Bauer's home Tuesday evening. Bauer declined to say if anything was taken from his house.

Other case

Costanzo is already facing a felony charge of carrying a concealed weapon in a case that was bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury Monday.

She was stopped in a car March 19 a few blocks from Bauer's home. Police said they found a loaded gun in her pants.

Warren Municipal Court Judge Terry Ivanchak reissued a no-contact order Wednesday telling Costanzo to stay away from Bauer's home.

The judge had rescinded the order Monday when the case was bound over to the grand jury.

"In light of the recent federal investigation and federal filings of murder for hire, the court will reimpose the prior order of no contact," Judge Ivanchak's order states.

A 14-page affidavit prosecutors filed in U.S. District Court in support of the murder-for-hire charge states that a source told FBI agents that Costanzo had been trying to hire him or someone to kill her husband. The source also said that he provided OxyContin pills and powder cocaine to Costanzo.

The affidavit further states that the source tape-recorded numerous conversations with Costanzo in which she repeatedly says she wants to have Bauer killed.

During one conversation, the source said he knew someone in Pennsylvania who could do the job for $10,000 but wanted a $2,000 down payment.

The affidavit states Costanzo paid the source $1,100 and promised to pay the rest in a few days. It also says Costanzo provided the source with a picture of Bauer.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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