Litany of missed opportunities
Oct. 15, 1997




Montgomery County police and prosecutors had more than one chance to get Alejandro Jose Grant off the streets before he allegedly gunned down a 19-year-old college student last Wednesday following a traffic accident in which Grant was riding a bicycle.

Six days before the shooting, Grant, 26, of the 10700 block of Lockridge Drive in Silver Spring, who has a history of violent outbursts and drug problems, was to stand trial on charges of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

But the case was dropped by the Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office after the police officer who filed the charges failed to show for the District Court trial.

Had Grant gone to trial, the case likely would have brought attention to an earlier case in which county prosecutors agreed not to pursue an assault charge filed against Grant last April.

In that instance, Grant had been charged with assaulting an off-duty county police officer who was working security for Dave and Buster's, a popular restaurant and entertainment center at White Flint Mall in North Bethesda.

Grant was released on $1,000 bond pending trial in that case on the condition that he obey a curfew and undergo random drug tests.

Within weeks of posting bond, court records show, Grant tested positive for marijuana three times and failed to respond to curfew checks six times within an eight-day period.

The county's Pre-Trial Services Unit, which supervises defendants released pending trial, petitioned the court June 12 to revoke Grant's bond, citing the drug and curfew infractions along with other concerns.

Caseworkers and others working with Grant said they were concerned with Grant's "extreme mood swings" during appointments, and noted Grant had begun to refuse to talk during meetings and would only write his responses on paper.

"He states that his is not talking as he is afraid his mouth will get him into more trouble," the supervisors wrote.

Grant, a Montgomery Blair High School graduate, was allowed to stay free on bond pending a June 23 trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Grant faced a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges. But the trial was averted through an agreement with the State's Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors agreed to place the assault charges in an inactive or "stet" docket for one year, after which, if Grant did not violate conditions of the agreement, the case would not be pursued.

Grant appeared to stay out of trouble until Aug. 7, when a Montgomery County police officer cited him for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

According to court records, Grant was "screaming loudly and disturbing" other people waiting at a bus stop in the 8600 block of Colesville Road in Silver Spring.

The officer reported Grant refused to stop screaming, and that he detected a "strong odor of alcohol" on Grant and noted Grant was "unsteady" and his speech "slurred."

Grant initially was scheduled for a District Court trial Aug. 26, but the case was postponed until Oct. 2, at which time the charges were dropped when the officer failed to show.

Montgomery County Police spokesman Cpl. George Ludington said Tuesday that he understands there was a mix-up and that the officer was never notified of the Oct. 2 trial date.

Six days later, Grant was arrested for the shooting death of 19-year-old Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez of Wheaton, whose car accidentally bumped a bicycle Grant was riding on shortly after 4 p.m. as both made their way through a busy intersection in Langley Park in Prince George's County.

At the time of his arrest, Grant also had been convicted in 1991 of assaulting a Prince George's police officer; possession and sale of marijuana and resisting arrest in New York; and malicious destruction of property last year for which he served 10 days in the Montgomery County jail. It also was reported that Grant had assault charges still pending against him in Washington.

Montgomery County State's Attorney Robert L. Dean said Friday his office was not aware of all the charges against Grant when his office approved putting off the assault trial scheduled for last June.

Dean said his office was unaware that Grant had been charged with aggravated assault in 1995 in the District because that charge did not appear in the computer records they use.

"There was nothing in his background that would indicate he was the cold-blooded murderer he is accused of being," Dean said.

The victim, Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez of Wheaton, was shot in the head Oct. 8 over an apparent traffic dispute.

Enriquez was pronounced dead Wednesday after being transported to Washington Hospital Center's MedStar Unit, according to police reports. Alejandro "Alex" Jose Grant, 26, of the 10700 block of Lockridge Drive, was charged with first-degree murder Thursday and is being held without bond at the Upper Marlboro Detention Center.

Staff writers Frank Curreri and Meredith Narcum contributed to this article.