Ann Anastasi, 42, and her husband, Anthony J. Anastasi Jr., 40, had both been romantically involved with Jacqueline Riggs, 25, according to police. But the couple’s 18-year marriage was fraught with conflict and domestic abuse, police said, and Ann Anastasi recently had a falling out with both her husband and Riggs, who was living in the basement of the family home.
Ann Anastasi then allegedly recruited Gabriel Ezekiel Struss, 18, and her daughter to help with the killings, according to officials. Initially, Anastasi told police her husband committed suicide. Both she and her daughter were arrested Friday.
But inconsistencies in Ann Anastasi’s story, along with additional evidence, led police to believe that something more happened inside the home in Lothian, Maryland, and the scene was staged, officials say.
Anne Arundel County detectives say they untangled the mystery of what they allege happened during the Oct. 5 slayings.
When police initially reported to a call about a suicide, they said they found Anthony Anastasi dead from a gunshot wound in a bedroom and Riggs dead in the basement from what an autopsy later revealed was multiple stab wounds.
But the ballistics on the gun found next to Anthony Anastasi did not match the bullet that killed him, police said. Police have not recovered either of the weapons. None of the three accused has entered a plea.
Police say Ann Anastasi, who is being held without bail, and her 13-year-old daughter plotted the killings. And the 13-year-old, whose name was not released because she is a minor, allegedly enlisted the help of her boyfriend, Struss of Annapolis, to commit the slayings.
"There was evidence that this murder was planned," Wes Adams, a Maryland state attorney, said today.
He said the crime was initially intended to occur one day before it actually took place, but the victims stayed away from the family home and Struss waited for their return.
Police say text messages on Ann Anastasi's phone led officials to the others who were allegedly involved.
"There were text messages between the two regarding her [the teen] taking the fall for the murders," Adams said, adding that Struss sent texts that show he was aware of the possibility he could "go to jail for the rest of his life," if anyone allegedly involved spoke to officials about the crime.
A lawyer for Struss said he is reviewing the allegations.
"We are preparing a defense and my client looks forward to his day in court," said David Fischer, an attorney. "We will be investigating and putting up a rigorous defense.”