As the new year approaches, the book has finally closed on Philadelphia's first murder of last year.
In its third day of deliberations, a Common Pleas jury yesterday found Anthony Pander guilty of murdering Andreas Gabranidis, 55, who was married to Pander's sister, Georgianna.
The first-degree-murder conviction means that Pander, 22, of Grays Ferry, will spend the rest of his life in state prison with no chance of parole. The jury also convicted him of possession of an instrument of crime, while finding him not guilty of burglarizing Gabranidis' Southwest Philadelphia rowhouse. Judge Leon Tucker handed down the sentence.
"It was a difficult decision because of the family situation,"Assistant District Attorney MK Feeney said of the jury, which asked the judge several questions during deliberations. "There are no winners here. Basically, there is justice for Mr. Gabranidis, but that means that [Georgianna Pander's] brother is going to prison for the rest of his life."
Georgianna Pander, 30, who tearfully testified against the brother that she said was more like a son to her, was too grief-stricken to talk with this reporter.
"I feel grateful that justice was served, but it's not a win-win situation," said Maria Gabranidis, one of the victim's three adult daughters from a previous marriage. "I'm sad for all of it, for what it is, but I think it's the best result that could have come out."
Trial testimony indicated that in the early morning of New Year's Day 2008, Georgianna Pander cried to her brother Anthony about problems she was having with her estranged husband, a Greek immigrant who was 27 years her senior and with whom she'd had three children during a 10-year marriage.
Anthony became enraged and bolted from a party being held at the Wissinoming home his sister was sharing with her four children and new boyfriend, Brian Dingler.
With Dingler in the passenger seat, Anthony Pander drove drunk 14 miles to Andreas Gabranidis' home, on 67th Street near Upland. After arriving just before 3 a.m., the prosecutor told the jury, Pander dragged the older man outside and beat him, chased Gabranidis down as he banged on neighbors' doors and finally plunged a knife into his body multiple times.
Dingler testified for the prosecution, as did three neighbors who witnessed part of the attack.