Man arrested in ‘vicious’ killing of Warren woman

Candice Williams, and Holly Fournier

A man suspected in the slaying of a 61-year-old Warren woman was arraigned Tuesday in 37th District Court.

Anthony Iannotti is shown in this booking photo from the Shelby Township Police Department, left. His later booking photo, right, shows Iannotti after he shaved in an apparent attempt to disguise himself.

Anthony Iannotti, 35, was on the run when he was arrested Tuesday morning trying to break into a Shelby Township home where a mother and toddler were inside, according to officials.

Charges against Iannotti include first-degree homicide and felony murder. He also is charged with third-degree home invasion and tampering with an electronic monitor device stemming from the Aug. 10 incident.

Judge Matthew Sabaugh ordered Iannotti held with no bond on the homicide charge. For the home invasion charge, Sabaugh set bond at $2 million.

Iannotti returns to court Aug. 30.

Though Iannotti had shaved in an apparent attempt to disguise himself, Shelby Township officers identified him by one distinguishing feature, they said.

“It was his teeth,” Officer Jim Malczewski said when asked during a news conference how responders recognized him after the attempted break-in, which occurred just before 9 a.m. on the 46100 block of Ryan Road.

“And just because of the circumstances: We’ve been looking for him ... and he has a unique bite (with) his teeth in front,” Malczewski said. “That’s what made our guys recognize him.”

Iannotti is accused of attacking Dona Lawrence in her Warren home at the Williamsburg East Apartments, according to officials.

“He went to this woman’s house and the theory is he wanted a car or finances or both,” Warren Mayor JIm Fouts said. “Because she wouldn’t give it ... it was a violent, vicious assault.”

Fouts said Lawrence allegedly was assaulted “a multitude of times” by Iannotti, whom she knew as an acquaintance from a recent family funeral.

“He befriended her and offered to help her out and became acquaintances first,” Fouts said. “And unfortunately that led to her undoing. It’s just a sad, tragic situation.”

Tuesday’s arrest came after the suspect was spotted over the weekend about a block away from the attempted home invasion site.

Police responded around 12:30 a.m. Saturday to shots fired outside the home where Iannotti’s child lives, according to Shelby Township Police Chief Robert Shelide.

“The mother’s stepfather approached him, fired a couple shots at him, and he fled,” Shelide said. “We had about 35 guys out here looking for him until about 7 a.m. and we were not able to take him into custody at that time.”

After that incident, the attempted home invasion victim had a “crazy premonition” that Iannotti would re-appear in her neighborhood.

“She was almost on guard for him,” Shelide said. “And as soon as she laid eyes on him, she called us immediately.”

Iannotti was arrested after trying to break into the 34-year-old woman’s home while she was home alone with her 2 1/2 year old son.

“She went into her bathroom upstairs, started hiding with her little boy, locked the door and starting giving our dispatchers information that we needed that was critical,” Shelide said.

“Within minutes, our whole shift was out and we had the house surrounded. We made entry into the home, secured the location and realized he was not here.”

Officers fanned out through the neighborhood and soon located the man at the nearby Spring Hill Apartments.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier