From Wasington Post and AP
Compiled from reports by staff writers Vanessa Williams and Philip P. Pan
Thursday, August 13, 1998; Page B03
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I'm very thankful for the wonderful job the police and the prosecutor
was a Christian verdict, but I'm still a loser. I lost my daughter."
-- Eligio Enriquez, whose daughter was shot to death by a bicyclist whom
she had accidentally bumped with her car, commenting on the first-degree
murder verdict returned against his daughter's assailant.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
Bicyclist Found Guilty of Murder For Killing
Driver Who Bumped Him
Prince George's Jury Takes 90 Minutes to Reach a Verdict
By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 13, 1998; Page B07
A Prince George's County Circuit Court jury deliberated just 90 minutes
yesterday before finding a Silver Spring man guilty of gunning down a young
female motorist who accidentally bumped him off his bicycle at a busy
Adelphi intersection last fall.
Alejandro Jose Grant, 27, was found guilty of first-degree murder and using
a handgun while committing a felony. After he was bumped off his bike Oct.
8, Grant got up, pulled a pistol from his backpack, walked over to the waiting
motorist, Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez, 19, and shot her once point-blank in
the head, according to testimony at Grant's two-day trial.
Grant showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but more than two dozen
relatives and friends of the victim wept softly and embraced.
The victim's father, Eligio Enriquez, clutched a small picture of Jesus
on the cross as he listened to the jury forewoman declare Grant guilty. Tears
welled up in his eyes as he turned and clutched hands with his wife, Paulita,
the victim's mother.
As Grant was led away in handcuffs by sheriff's deputies, Paulita Enriquez
hugged Prince George's County homicide Detective Vincent Canales, while
Eligio Enriquez embraced Assistant State's Attorney Fran Longwell, who
prosecuted the case.
"I'm very thankful for the wonderful job the police and the prosecutor
Eligio Enriquez, 49, told reporters. "It was a Christian verdict, but I'm still a
loser. I lost my daughter."
Circuit Court Judge Sheila R. Tillerson-Adams scheduled sentencing for
Sept. 14. Grant could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 20
years for the handgun violation, prosecutors said.
On Tuesday, several witnesses testified that they saw Grant shoot Enriquez
before he tried to ride away on his bike, which he stashed in a trash bin
before trying to run away. Grant was caught within minutes by Prince
George's County police, who were summoned by 911 calls made by
motorists using their cell phones, according to testimony.
During her closing argument yesterday, Longwell said Grant "killed
[Enriquez] in cold blood. He executed that young woman."
Grant did not take the stand in his own defense. His attorney, Assistant
Public Defender Clayton Aarons, told jurors in his closing argument that
Grant shot Enriquez.
"We're not asking you to let him off the hook," Aarons said. "This is not
individual standing over someone, execution-style, emptying a [gun] into
After closing arguments, Grant told the judge that he wanted to fire Aarons
and represent himself. Tillerson-Adams refused Grant's request because the
jury already had begun deliberating. Grant rescinded his request just before
the verdict was read.
During her opening argument, Longwell said the .22-caliber gun used to
Enriquez was recovered from a backpack that Grant tossed into a trash bin
as he tried to run away. But she told the jurors that the gun that was
recovered had been destroyed accidentally by Prince George's police.
Royce Holloway, a county police spokesman, said the gun was properly
tagged as evidence in the police property division but was inadvertently
placed in a box of weapons scheduled to be destroyed.
"It was an isolated incident, and it was unfortunate," Holloway said.
"Fortunately, it occurred in this case," in which police and prosecutors had
numerous eyewitnesses and a suspect caught minutes after the attack.
He said the department is reviewing its property division procedures.
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company
Murder Trial Witnesses Recall Attack on
Bicyclist Shot Woman Who Bumped Him
By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 12, 1998; Page B07
Seconds after a motorist accidentally bumped him off his bicycle at a busy
Adelphi intersection last fall, Alejandro Jose Grant calmly got up, pulled a
small pistol from a backpack, walked over to the waiting driver and shot her
in the head.
Several witnesses during the first day of Grant's trial yesterday on
first-degree murder charges gave similarly chilling accounts of what they
saw Oct. 8 when Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez, a 19-year-old college
student, was killed.
"He just shot her in the head. It was devastating. I couldn't believe it,"
testified Chinola Jenkins, who was riding in a car at the intersection of
University Boulevard and Riggs Road shortly after 4 p.m., when the shooting
"She fell back. Her car just rolled into a pole," Jenkins testified.
Another witness, John T. Fowler, testified that Enriquez had stopped her
and was calling out to Grant, asking whether he was all right.
Wearing headphones, Grant sauntered over to Enriquez, screaming, "You
don't know me!" He reached into her car and "shot her just like she was a
cockroach. Then he turned and walked away," Fowler testified.
Grant, 27, of Silver Spring, faces life in prison without parole if convicted
the first-degree murder charge. At the time of the shooting, Grant was free
on assault charges in the District and Montgomery County despite having
failed three court-ordered drug tests.
In his opening statement yesterday, Grant's attorney, Clayton Aarons, a
deputy public defender, told jurors in Prince George's County Circuit Court
that the key to the case would be whether the slaying was planned.
"We're not standing here before you saying he didn't do it," Aarons said.
jurors to convict Grant of first-degree murder, Aarons told them, "the state
must prove . . . that he planned this, that he had the intent [to shoot her]
when he walked to her car."
Assistant State's Attorney Fran Longwell told the jury in her opening
statement that numerous witnesses and physical evidence tie Grant to the
"There's no mistake that this is the man who did it," Longwell said.
Witnesses yesterday gave a detailed account of what happened immediately
after the shooting. According to testimony, Grant tried to ride his bicycle
away but was followed by at least two motorists. Using cell phones, some
witnesses called the police moments after the shooting, according to
They also described seeing Grant toss his bicycle into a trash bin and
Two Prince George's County police officers who responded to investigate
the incident and who chased down Grant on foot testified that they saw him
toss a black backpack into a circular trash bin.
Other officers testified that a shiny, silver-colored, brown-handled handgun
was recovered from the backpack. They said the gun matched the
description given by witnesses.
Prince George's County Police Cpl. Charles Hamby, one of the officers who
caught Grant, testified that several witnesses identified him as the gunman
within 10 minutes of the attack.
Longwell told jurors that a firearms examination showed that the gun
recovered from the backpack was the weapon used to kill Enriquez. But, she
said, the gun found that day was destroyed accidentally by Prince George's
Enriquez, of Wheaton, was a physical therapy student at Montgomery
College and was on her way to class when she was killed.
Yesterday, nearly three dozen relatives, friends and members of the local
Philippine community (Enriquez was of Philippine descent) sat in the
courtroom to watch the trial and comfort each other.
The day after the shooting, Prince George's County Police Chief John S.
Farrell said Grant told detectives he shot Enriquez because "he felt she
endangered him and he wanted her to know how it felt."
Before he was bumped off his bicycle by Enriquez, Aarons told the jury,
Grant had been knocked off his bike by a motorist previously that day.
Man Who Killed Driver Hangs Himself in Jail
Bicyclist Had Requested Death Penalty By Brian Mooar Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, September 17, 1998; Page B05 Alejandro Jose Grant, who asked for the death penalty but was sentenced Monday to life imprisonment for shooting a woman to death after her car accidentally bumped his bicycle, hanged himself yesterday in his cell at the Prince George's County jail. Grant, 27, housed in the same maximum-security unit where he had lived since May, slipped a torn piece of bedsheet around his neck as officers were making their afternoon shift change and was found unconscious just after 3 p.m., officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His death came 48 hours after an emotionally charged hearing in which he urged a judge to impose the death sentence against him for gunning down Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez, saying he didn't "really feel like living." Before the hearing, prosecutors said, Grant slugged a sheriff's deputy and bragged about killing Enriquez within earshot of the deputies guarding him. Judge Sheila R. Tillerson-Adams sentenced Grant to life in prison without parole for murder and to an additional 20 years for using a handgun while committing a felony. Despite Grant's plea for a death sentence, corrections officials were not instructed after Monday's court session to place him on a suicide watch, said Vicki Duncan, spokeswoman for the Prince George's County Department of Corrections. Officers check on maximum-security prisoners about every half-hour; inmates on suicide watch are checked every 15 minutes, Duncan said. "The new shift had just come on, and they were making their regular rounds when they found him," Duncan said. "Maybe 20 minutes to a half-hour before that, they made rounds, and the officer who was leaving him found him fine. The new officer who came on found him hanged." Duncan said that both officers who had checked on Grant were veterans and that they apparently had been following department policy. She said Grant's method of hanging himself took guards by surprise. "He took a piece of torn sheeting, and he threaded it through the metal holes that the [upper bunk bed's] mattress lays on, and he was able to make a noose this way," Duncan said. "He had one end wrapped around the mattress. . . . The officer said it was very ingenious, something she had never seen before. They have stopped a number of suicides before over the years." Enriquez, a 19-year-old physical therapy student, was driving to Montgomery College on Oct. 8 when she accidentally bumped Grant and knocked him off his bicycle at University Boulevard and Riggs Road in Adelphi. Enriquez pulled her blue Honda Accord over to make sure the bicyclist was all right, but to the horror of rush-hour motorists and pedestrians, he reached into his backpack and pulled out a small handgun. "You don't know me!" Grant screamed as he put the .22-caliber gun to her head and fired. Witnesses said he then calmly remounted his bike and rode off, but he was tracked down quickly by police with the help of witnesses who had followed him. Grant later told detectives he shot Enriquez because he thought she had endangered him and he wanted her to know how it felt, police said. Prince George's State's Attorney Jack Johnson called Grant's suicide a "sad situation" and expressed sympathy last night for the man's family. Although Johnson said it was "clear [Grant] understood right and wrong and met the legal definition of sanity," he added that his office wrestled with the decision on whether to pursue a life sentence without parole because Grant "had deep troubles, emotional problems." Grant's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Clayton Aarons, described his client last night as a young man who never managed to put down roots and was unable to cap an explosive well of anger. Aarons said Grant appeared to be sorry but was unable to explain why he had killed the young woman. Aarons said it never crossed his mind, even after Grant's plea for the death penalty, that his client would take his own life. "In his own warped way of thinking, this may have been his way of really showing the judge and everyone that he was indeed remorseful," Aarons said. Eligio Enriquez, father of the slain woman, said last night that he took no joy from Grant's death. "It makes me a little bit sad," he said. "It didn't give me relief. Two lives have been taken away. I lost a daughter, and his parents lost a son. This should not be happening." Staff writers Ruben Castaneda and Philip P. Pan contributed to this report. (c) Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company