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Rifle seized after squirrel shooting in Milford


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) Police say they found an unregistered assault rifle and three large-capacity magazines in the home of a Milford man accused of shooting a squirrel.

The New Haven Register reports that James Toigo has been charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm, cruelty to an animal, reckless endangerment, breach of peace, failure to register an assault rifle and possessing large-capacity magazines.

Police officers were directing traffic in the area when they say they heard a gunshot.

Toigo was taken into custody after police said he shot the squirrel. Nielsen said the assault rifle was not used in the shooting.

He was released and is due back in court May 13.

Toigo's phone number is unlisted and it wasn't known Thursday morning if he's represented by a lawyer.

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Abuse allegations detailed against ex-priest


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) Authorities say a former East Windsor priest sexually assaulted a teenage parishioner, making the boy remove his clothes for his paychecks and causing him to seek hospital treatment for the abuse.

The Journal Inquirer reports that according to an arrest warrant unsealed in Enfield Superior Court on Tuesday, the Rev. Paul Gotta was charged on March 31 with two counts of second-degree sexual assault and five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault. Police say the incidents occurred between January 2012 and February 2013.

His lawyer did not immediately return a call Thursday morning seeking comment.

Police say the abuse contributed to the boy's willingness to participate in illegal activities for Gotta such as buying ammunition online and illegally buying guns.

Gotta is free on a $100,000 bond and due back in court May 13.

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Bridgeport grocer accused of food stamp fraud


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Bridgeport grocer has been charged with buying food stamps from customers and using the money to buy bulk merchandise.

Aslam Khawaja tells the Connecticut Post he was trying to help poor people in the community.

He was charged Wednesday with larceny by defrauding a public community, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Authorities say that from March through December 2013 Khawaja paid cash to 128 customers for their food stamp benefits at 50 cents to a dollar of benefit. He's accused of using the benefits to buy $45,000 in bulk merchandise, including 1,200 cases of Red Bull energy drinks he sold at his store.

Undercover officers patronized the store several times with food stamp cards.

Khawaja posted $100,000 bond and is due to be arraigned April 22.

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Man charged with assaulting infant daughter


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A man has been arrested and charged with assaulting his 2-month-old daughter who is hospitalized in critical condition.

Hartford police say 32-year-old Marcus Rooks of Manchester was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor. His bond was set at $1 million.

Police were called to a home in Hartford on Monday afternoon with a report of an unresponsive baby. The infant girl was taken to a hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police say Rooks had an outstanding warrant for his arrest out of Hartford on a third-degree assault charge.

It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.

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Metro-North officials to meet with Conn. commuters


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut commuters expect to hear from Metro-North officials about the commuter railroad's 100-day improvement plan.

The executives, including the senior vice president of operations, were scheduled to address the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council on Wednesday during the group's monthly meeting. Open to the public, the 7 p.m. meeting will be held at the South Western Regional Planning Agency in Stamford.

The council said Metro-North's improvement efforts and operational issues will be discussed. Metro-North President Joseph has said the railroad's priorities are to operate safely, communicate better and restore performance.

The commuter council is an independent state board that acts as an advocate for Metro-North commuters. Chairman Terri Cronin said ``getting back to meaningful dialogue with Metro-North on rail performance'' is a critical element of the council's duties.

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Father, son plead not guilty to child porn charges


NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A father and son have pleaded not guilty to possession of child pornography.

The Day of New London reports that 25-year-old Brian Faford and 57-year-old Donald Faford, both of East Lyme, were free on $75,000 bonds after their appearance in court in New London on Tuesday.

Police say the elder Faford told detectives he had found pornography on his son's computer account and saved it to his own account.

Police say computers seized from the home contained hundreds of images and videos of suspected child pornography.

At his lawyer's request, Brian Faford is permitted by the judge to use a word processing program for school and use his mother's computer to access two websites needed for his coursework.

The computer is subject to searches by the probation department.

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Connecticut man accused sending sex photos


NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Authorities say a?27-year-old Westport man sent photos of himself having sex with his ex-girlfriend to her new husband.

The Hour of Norwalk reports that Steven Krasilovsky was arraigned on a charge of second-degree harassment in Norwalk Superior Court on Monday.

Krasilovsky's lawyer, John P. Thygerson, said the unidentified woman filed a civil restraining order against Krasilovsky who could not fight the order because he was in Israel at the time. When he returned to the United States, Krasilovsky had the restraining order voided and his ex-girlfriend filed a police report.

Thygerson said the alleged victim is seeking relief in criminal court when she failed in her civil lawsuit.

He says Krasilovsky denies any criminal conduct.

Police say the explicit photos were provided as evidence.

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Conn. 'knockout game' bill clears committee vote


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A key legislative committee is moving along a bill that would increase criminal penalties for sucker-punch attacks, despite some lawmakers questioning whether the legislation is needed.

The revamped bill, which passed the Judiciary Committee on a 31-10 vote Monday, would impose a mandatory minimum two-year prison sentence for those who intentionally cause serious physical injury, and without provocation, knock someone unconscious by striking a victim in the head.

The legislation would also require any violator age 16 or 17 to automatically be transferred to adult court. A judge could later send the case back to juvenile court.

Proponents said the bill sends a strong message to assailants who attempt to knock out random victims with a single punch that such behavior won't be tolerated.

The bill moves to the Senate.

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Cyanide poisoning in suicide shuts neighborhood


FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Fairfield fire officials say a man who committed suicide by drinking potassium cyanide prompted a hazardous materials alert that shut part of a neighborhood.

Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola told the Connecticut Post that the unidentified man left a note warning first responders. He locked the house and went to bed before swallowing the poison.

A portion of the neighborhood was shut Monday night, but neighbors were not in danger.

Fairfield police were notified at about 6 p.m., but the identity of the caller was not disclosed.

Friends who were concerned they hadn't heard from the man found the house locked.

Gemola and Assistant Police Chief Chris Lyddy said first responders called for support from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's hazardous materials team.

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Health woes vex neighbors of tire warehouse fire


TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) A tire fire in Torrington that stopped burning more than a week ago has led to health concerns among local residents.

The Toce Brothers Co. warehouse fire began April 3 and was extinguished the next day. Water from fire hoses cascaded along the road containing bits of rubber.

More than 1 million gallons of water and hundreds of gallons of foam extinguished the fire.

The Republican-American reports that debris were strewn along the curb, around storm drains and filled in crevasses. Roads were coated with what looked like black paint.

Health officials say residents do not face significant health or environmental risks especially if they take all reasonable steps to clean their property.

Pamela Colucci says her dog's paws were black and sticky after a recent walk.

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Large crowds cheer UConn champion basketball teams


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Huge crowds have turned out for a downtown Hartford victory parade celebrating the national championships won by the University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball teams.

Cheers grew louder as the truck carrying the UConn band approached in the parade Sunday. By the time the men's and women's basketball teams went by the crowds were ecstatic.

Men's coach Kevin Ollie waved from the front of a parade truck while guard Ryan Boatright held up a hand displaying the No. 1 sign.

The UConn men's team beat Kentucky for the national title April 7, and the women's team defeated Notre Dame for its record-breaking ninth championship.

UConn is the only school to win the men's and women's Division I basketball championships in the same year, which they accomplished in 2004.

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'Combative' suspect dies after police use stun gun


EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) State Police say a 22-year-old suspect in custody for an alleged domestic dispute has died after police tried to subdue him with a stun gun.

Police say Jose Maldonado of Manchester was arrested early Sunday morning after East Hartford police responded to a complaint of a dispute. Police say he damaged a vehicle occupied by a family including two adults and three children. Police say one adult was injured by broken glass.

Police say Maldonado was combative and resisted arrest. He was taken to East Hartford Police Department for booking on charges of risk of injury to a minor, assault and resisting arrest.

Police say he again became combative and was subdued by a stun gun. Police say he seemed to suffer medical distress. He died at Hartford Hospital.

State Police are investigating.

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Missing man's family appeals defamation award


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The family of a Waterbury man who has been missing for the past decade is going to the state Supreme Court to fight a nearly $53,000 defamation lawsuit judgment.

The New Haven Register reports that relatives of William ``Billy'' Smolinski Jr. are appealing a ruling last month by the state Appellate Court. The court upheld a lower court ruling ordering the family to pay damages to Smolinski's former girlfriend, Madeleine Gleason of Woodbridge.

Gleason sued Smolinski's mother and sister in 2006 alleging they harassed her, defamed her and falsely accused her of involvement in Smolinski's disappearance. Gleason and Smolinski broke up just before he disappeared in 2004.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Smolinski's mother, Janice Smolinski, says her court appeal involves First Amendment and victims' rights.

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Connecticut ex-governor pleads not guilty


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut ex-governor John G. Rowland has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke federal laws in pursuit of consulting roles with campaigns for the U.S. House in 2010 and 2012.

Rowland, who served a prison sentence in a corruption scandal that led to his resignation 10 years ago, appeared in court Friday. A federal judge in New Haven set bond at $250,000 and scheduled jury selection for June 10.

Rowland's attorney said he is eager for trial to begin.

Rowland faces charges including falsifying records in a federal investigation. With convictions on all charges, the maximum prison term is 57 years.

Rowland was a rising Republican star before he resigned. He was friends with former President George H. W. Bush and had been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate.

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State police investigate infant death in Putnam


PUTNAM, Conn. (AP) Connecticut State Police are investigating the death of an infant in Putnam.

Police say someone called 911 before dawn Friday from a private home and reported the infant was unresponsive. Emergency medical personnel provided treatment but the child was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

State Police Major Crime detectives interviewed witnesses and the office of the chief medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

The child's identity was not immediately released.

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Connecticut woman accused of theft as health aide


NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Norwalk police have arrested a Stamford woman on larceny and identity theft charges on accusations she used her sister's identity to get a home health aide job and stole thousands of dollars from an elderly patient.

The Hour of Norwalk reports that Maria Dorissaint was held without bond Thursday.

Police say the daughter of an elderly man complained about fraudulent activity in her father's financial accounts. The unidentified woman said someone opened a credit card in her father's name and used it at a supermarket. In addition, $5,000 was charged to the man's credit card.

It was not known Thursday if Dorissaint is represented by a lawyer.

She previously pleaded guilty to larceny, credit card theft and other charges. She was sentenced to 30 months in prison and five years of probation in January 2013.

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Bush gets ovation from Connecticut Republicans


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Former Florida governor and possible presidential candidate Jeb Bush says Republicans need to present a ``hopeful, optimistic'' vision to voters, restoring opportunities for social mobility and reforming immigration laws.

Bush's speech garnered a standing ovation from 800 Connecticut Republicans who turned out Thursday for the state party's annual fundraising dinner, named after his late grandfather.

Bush remarked about making headlines on his immigration stance. He says he sees no conflict among enforcing the nation's laws, believing in the rule of law and ``having some sensitivity to the immigrant experience.''

Hanging over the event was news former Connecticut Republican Gov. John G. Rowland (ROH'-lund) was indicted on charges he tried to hide his role in a congressional campaign. Party Chairman Jerry Labriola says Rowland hasn't been involved with the party for a decade. Rowland can't be reached for comment.

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Connecticut House backs campus assault measure


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Legislation overhauling how college and university officials in Connecticut respond to sexual assault and violence on campus has unanimously passed the House of Representatives.

The vote Thursday was 144-0.

The legislation requires reporting of sexual violence at an institution of higher education and greater details in a campus crime report. The report must include each incidence of intimate partner violence reported to the local or State Police or college or university.

It also requires schools to establish Sexual Assault Response Teams that include counselors, police, faculty and others.

A federal lawsuit claims the University of Connecticut reacted to reports of sexual assaults on its main campus in Storrs with deliberate indifference or worse. UConn denies the accusation.

The measure now heads to the state Senate.

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Man gets 35 years in prison for killing deli clerk


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A 34-year-old man apologized for shooting a deli clerk in West Haven to death during a 2011 robbery before being sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Marquis Pettway of New Haven was sentenced Wednesday in Milford Superior Court for the killing of 22-year-old Mohamed Bilal ``Billy'' Altinawi at a family-owned deli on Route 1. He pleaded guilty to murder in January.

Authorities say Pettway shot Altinawi point-blank in the face with a shotgun and made off with about $2,500, cigarettes and stamps.

The New Haven Register reports that Pettway apologized in court to Altinawi's relatives and friends. He said he can't change what he did and doesn't deserve mercy. Altinawi's relatives said they were devastated by his death.

Two co-defendants await sentencing on robbery charges.

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Ex-medic pleads guilty in ambulance sex assault


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A former paramedic has pleaded guilty and will serve 3.5 years in prison for sexually assaulting a drunk, unconscious woman in an ambulance in Hamden.

Fifty-one-year-old Mark Powell of North Haven pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court. He's set to be sentenced June 10.

Prosecutors say Powell and another paramedic with American Medical Response responded to a party in Hamden early Christmas morning in 2011 to treat an unconscious and intoxicated 22-year-old woman who fell and hit her head while dancing.

The woman told police she woke up in the ambulance and Powell was touching her in a sexual way.

The New Haven Register reports that Powell will serve 10 years of probation after prison and have to register as a sex offender.

 

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