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Hannibal Lecter will have his day in court - via Monessen man’s alleged threats to judge

October 2, 2018
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Gregg Tchirkow

A Monessen man faces trial on charges that he threatened and stalked a Westmoreland County judge by mailing her pictures that included a photo of fictional serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

In an opinion made public Tuesday, visiting Senior Common Pleas Judge Timothy Creany of Cambria County said a photograph of Lecter from the movie “The Silence of the Lambs” and other pictures sent last year to Common Pleas Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio constitute enough evidence to support criminal charges against Gregg Tchirkow.

Police said Tchirkow, 39, sent the judge the threatening pictures last year after she jailed him for violating terms of his probation for a 2014 drug conviction.

Tchirkow, who is serving as his own lawyer, contended the pictures did not constitute a threat and asked that the charges against him be dismissed.

Creany agreed to drop one felony offense -- retaliation against a court official -- after prosecutors conceded there was not enough evidence to support that allegation.

The judge said the pictures, included as part of a series of 18 letters sent to Bilik-DeFazio over the course of a year, were enough evidence to for misdemeanor charges of stalking and terroristic threats. One picture depicted people on a boat designated as the “SS Oblivious,” with a caption that read “pre-prison.” A second picture, captioned “post-prison,” depicted Lecter.

In making his ruling, Creany detailed the plot of the 1992 movie “The Silence of the Lambs,” in which actor Anthony Hopkins portrayed a cannibalistic murderer who stalks a tormentor after he escapes from prison. The judge, in his opinion, quoted a specific scene from the movie in which Lecter tells an FBI agent he planned on “having a friend for dinner, a meal of liver that he would supplement with fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

The two pictures allegedly sent to Bilik-DeFazio, along with a third that is of the word “Metamorphosis,” can be construed as a threat, Creany said.

“The message that can be reasonably taken from this is clear: The once carefree Gregg Tchirkow has morphed into a frustrated defendant set on revenge,” Creany wrote.

Tchirkow is scheduled to appear before Creany on Sept. 10 for another hearing that includes a defense request to have the trial, which has not been scheduled, moved to another county.

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