When Steven Cozzi would sit down for dinner with his husband, Michael Montgomery, he liked to tell stories about his job as an attorney.
Some of those stories centered around plastic surgeon Tomasz Kosowski, a man whom Cozzi referred to as the “crazy doctor.” Kosowski was suing a plastic surgery practice, and Cozzi was representing some of the defendants in the case.
But after a particularly contentious deposition in January, where Kosowski followed Cozzi into the bathroom during a break and called him a “scumbag,” Montgomery began to worry for his husband’s safety. Montgomery fixed the security camera on their home and encouraged his husband to carry pepper spray, as well as hire outside security the next time that Cozzi and his boss, Jake Blanchard, met with Kosowski.
“I just had a bad feeling that this was escalating,” Montgomery said from the witness stand of a Pinellas courtroom Tuesday.
Montgomery was one of four witnesses called by prosecutors Tuesday during a hearing to determine whether Kosowski, who was accused in Cozzi’s death after the attorney went missing in March, should receive bond. The judge denied the defense’s motion to set a bond for Kosowski, meaning he will remain in the Pinellas County Jail while he awaits trial.
Police arrested Kosowski on March 26 on a first-degree murder charge. Cozzi’s body has not been found.
Authorities reviewed surveillance footage from Cozzi’s office building that showed a man entering and exiting the building with a cart large enough to hold a body. Other surveillance video obtained by police showed the man driving a truck to Kosowski’s Tarpon Springs home.
While conducting a search warrant on Kosowski’s home, investigators found blood in his garage and in the truck that was caught on surveillance footage. When Kosowski was arrested, police found a bloodied ballistic vest, as well as a Taser, brass knuckles, sedatives and masks, including a Guy Fawkes mask and a ski mask.
Debra Henrichs, a custodian in the office building where Cozzi worked, testified Tuesday that she had found Kosowski in the breaker room in the building about a week prior. He said he was there because there had been a power outage.
Henrichs was skeptical. She followed him outside, where she saw him drive off in a gray Toyota Tundra, she said. Then, she got a manager to check for bombs in the building and to call the building’s owner. No one had called for service, the owner said. They decided to file a police report.
After the incident, Henrichs found a box in the room that contained a wagon.
Henrichs thought she recognized Kosowski from a week or two prior. She had seen a man peering into the windows of the law firm where Cozzi worked one morning and told him that the firm wasn’t open yet.
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“Something didn’t feel right,” Henrichs said.
During the hearing Tuesday, Blanchard, who owns the law firm, recalled the day Cozzi disappeared.
Cozzi had gone to the bathroom while at work and never came back to his desk, leaving behind his wallet, keys and cellphone. Blanchard went to check on him. He didn’t find Cozzi — but he did find blood in the bathroom and a strong scent of bleach.
“It was a scary sight,” Blanchard said. “I got worried.”
During the hearing Tuesday, Kosowski’s defense team argued that he was not a flight risk and that he could be released from jail with an ankle monitor and confined to his home while awaiting trial.
“I believe that there are in fact conditions that could be fashioned that would ensure that Dr. Kosowski would appear for court appearances as required and that he would not be a danger to the community,” Bjorn Brunvand, Kosowski’s attorney, said.
However, prosecutors argued that Kosowski would be a danger to the community should he be released. Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone agreed, ruling in the state’s favor.
“If the allegations here are correct, then anyone involved in that civil case or anyone involved in this case could be in mortal danger,” Bulone said.