Trial to begin for Monessen man accused of threatening judge with letters, Hannibal Lecter photo
Testimony is slated to begin Wednesday in the harassment trial of a Monessen man charged with threatening a Westmoreland County judge.
A jury was seated Tuesday to hear evidence against Gregg Tchirkow, who prosecutors contend sent threatening letters to Common Pleas Court Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio, including one of fictional movie character Hannibal Lecter.
Tchirkow, 39, is charged with harassment and making terroristic threats. Police said he sent 18 letters to the judge, including one picture of the cannibalistic serial killer portrayed in the movie, “Silence of the Lambs,” by actor Anthony Hopkins. The letters, according to the prosecution, were sent after Bilik-DeFazio sentenced Tchirkow to jail in 2014 for violating terms of his probation in a previous drug conviction.
Tchirkow will defend himself at the trial. He has maintained the letters were not meant to be threatening.
Bilik-DeFazio is the lone prosecution witness scheduled to testify, according to Assistant District Attorney Allen Powanda.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.