Tuesday, May 13, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
Several people had access to Gregory Leonard's apartment and could have put the dead body of Tony Darnell Antee under his bed, Leonard's attorney told a District Court jury during opening statements in his murder trial.
Leonard, 32, is accused in the Jan. 22, 1995, slaying of 24-year-old Antee, whose body was found the following day when police went to the Mark Twain Apartments at 905 E. Twain Ave. in response to a tip.
Deputy Public Defender Pete LaPorta said at least three people, including the victim, had keys to Leonard's apartment.
Antee "used Greg's apartment to ply his trade," which was drug dealing, LaPorta told jurors, raising the possibility that someone other than Leonard was responsible for the killing.
During the prosecution's case Monday, Leonard's friend and co-worker Jesus Cintron testified that Leonard called him on the night of the killing and asked him for help in moving a body from under his bed.
Under direct examination by prosecutor Peggy Leen, Cintron said he thought Leonard was crazy and he hung up. But after thinking about it, he became concerned and reported the telephone call to police.
The defendant, a former maintenance man at the apartment complex, displayed other indications of guilt, Leen said in her opening statement, such as when he reportedly told a girlfriend who was trying to break up with him, "You don't know what kind of pressure I'm under. You don't know what I did last night."
Metro Police Detective Edward Landino is expected to testify that he went to Leonard's apartment on Jan. 22 to investigate Leonard in connection with Cintron's report. If his testimony is consistent with his statements at the preliminary hearing, the detective will say several people were cleared from Leonard's apartment in expectation of a search warrant being issued in connection with the case.
A police officer who was assisting in clearing the residence went to check the bedroom and noticed two feet protruding from under the bed.
Leonard also is charged in the strangulation death of Thomas Williams, 64, at the Twain Avenue apartment complex in November, 1994. Trial in that case is set for Aug. 11 before District Judge Joseph Bonaventure. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty in both cases.