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Hit man case headed to grand jury



Published: Tue, April 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Maridee Costanzo also waived her right to have a hearing to determine whether she should be released on bond.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Looking upbeat, if not fashionable, in her orange-and-white striped jail coveralls, Atty. Maridee Costanzo blew kisses to her mother and waived her right to a preliminary hearing.

That means her case, in which she is charged with trying to hire someone to kill her estranged husband, will go straight to a federal grand jury.

Costanzo stood next to her counsel, Tom Zena, during her brief appearance in U.S. District Court here Monday.

Costanzo, 46, of Warren, was arrested last week on a charge of using interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder for hire. She is in federal custody.

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 estranged husband, Atty. Roger Bauer.

Costanzo has denied the charges, Zena said.

Several times during Monday's hearing she smiled and blew kisses to her mother, Nancy, who was in the courtroom.

No names

"We decided not to go forward at this time with the preliminary hearing because a few of the people we were going to have testify decided they did not want to," Zena said. He declined to give names.

She also waived her right to have a hearing to determine whether she should be released on bond. Zena said he will ask the court for a hearing on that matter later, but declined to give any further details.

"She's very frustrated and upset that she is still in custody," Zena said. "She would like to inform her clients of the situation but cannot do so at this point. She understands the situation and she agrees with me, but she is still very upset."

Zena did not know when another hearing will be held.

Bauer, who did not attend the hearing, declined to comment.

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

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.

This is not the first time Costanzo has had dealings with the FBI. Agents searched her office in June 2003 and took several documents, but she was never charged. Zena said he believes that investigation is still ongoing.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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