The top office for federal prosecutors in Washington, D.C., honored two assistant U.S. attorneys in Pittsburgh this week for their work on a long-running federal murder case involving a Mount Washington drug dealer.
The Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys recognized Shaun Sweeney and Heidi Grogan at its 38th director’s awards ceremony.
Sweeney and Grogan prosecuted Price Montgomery for killing Tina Crawford, a witness against him, in 2014.
Crawford was a courier for Montgomery’s heroin ring supplied from New Jersey. Montgomery gunned her down at her mother’s Hill District home an hour before she was to meet with Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Nescott about the drug operation.
Montgomery was also convicted of drug dealing along with his top lieutenant, James Perrin. A third man, Glenn Thomas, was convicted of being an accessory after the fact for ditching the getaway car, although prosecutors say he was the second gunman.
In his closing argument during Montgomery’s trial in 2018, Sweeney told the story of Montgomery’s crime, and his motivation for the murder, in dramatic fashion.
He said that in June 2014, Montgomery and Perrin were arrested after a return trip from New Jersey, where they had bought heroin for distribution in Pittsburgh. Authorities then searched his Mount Washington house and turned up heroin, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and 16 guns.
“Everything he had worked so hard for was taken away from him,” Sweeney told the jury and suggested Montgomery then asked himself: “Who did this to me?”
It was Crawford.
So, prosecutors said, he and Thomas drove to her mother’s house and unleashed a hail of bullets on her and her mother, Patsy. Patsy survived but suffered grievous wounds.
Montgomery made a critical mistake that day — he dropped his cellphone at the scene and police matched his DNA to it.
He is serving life in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti praised his colleagues for their “tireless efforts” in the case and also recognized the work of the ATF along with the DEA, IRS, U.S. marshals, the state attorney general’s office and Pittsburgh police.
“It is of paramount importance to protect the safety of government witnesses,” Rivetti said.
The Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys provides oversight and direction for the 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices across the United States.