Morningsii Heights & Westan Piecus

Morningsii Heights, born Ann Liebsworth-Chen, was the daughter of a banker and an au pair and was occasionally called “the scandal that walks” in certain circles as a child. Her father, Ferdinand Liebsworth, left his wife and three children to marry nanny Li Chen. He soon grew bored of the arrangement; in the words of a local gossip rag, Liebsworth had found that “wanting is not the same as having.” He abandoned the family, moving to Europe and making only a very modest allowance for the upkeep of his ex-wife and young daughter. That, combined with the vengeful first Mrs. Liebsworth, left the family with little to their name aside from a rent-controlled apartment.

Though she found some early success as a model, Ann Liebsworth-Chen soon grew bored and resentful, and began operating petty scams and swindles under an assumed name. Morningsii Heights comes from the name of one neighborhood she frequented, Morningside, after she was amused by a misspelled street sign. Naturally, she used a variety of other aliases, though never her birth name.

Westan Peicus, born Sisi Mensah, was of mixed Ghanian descent and born in Newark to a single mother who was originally from Accra. His given name, Sisi, referred to the day of the week he was born on (in this case, Sunday). It was a very traditional, even old-fashioned, name. But needless to say, the fact that it both looked and sounded like “sissy” was a constant source of embarrassment to the young man, and led him to develop a reputation as a formidable brawler. After his mother died of breast cancer, the young man was taken in by an uncle, adopting his last name as a pseudonym. His first name, Westan, comes from his early days as a narcotics dealer and hustler, from his preferred haunt “west and north” or a local landmark.

Peicus quickly outgrew narcotics dealing and graduated into confidence scams and fencing items for petty thieves. Highly intelligent and organized, he was a master of scams that used a confederate and which drew on his ability to play-act as an urban fool. It’s believed that this is how he came into contact with Morningsii Heights, and she soon proved an able partner in a variety of scams.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!