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State News Stories

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3 men plead guilty in 2013 jewelry store robbery


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Federal prosecutors say three men who stole at least $4 million in jewelry and watches after kidnapping two jewelry store employees have pleaded guilty to robbery and firearms charges.

Prosecutors said at least four men, two who were armed, broke into a Meriden apartment in April 2013, and bound and blindfolded four people. Two of the men then drove two victims to Lenox Jewelers in Fairfield, where the victims worked. Prosecutors said the robbers looted the store and left the two kidnap victims bound inside.

Twenty-seven-year-old William Davis of Allentown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Monday. Twenty-eight-year-old Jeffrey Houston, also of Allentown, and 29-year-old Christopher Gay of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty last week. They were arrested in May 2013. The men face up to 20 years in prison and millions in restitution.

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New Britain woman charged in death of infant


NEW BRITAN, Conn. (AP) A 22-year-old New Britain woman has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a three-week-old baby girl.

Police say Janell Campbell was taken into custody at her home on Monday.

Authorities say the infant was brought to a hospital emergency room on Dec. 5 with suspicious injuries, and died later that day.

The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Police have not said how Campbell is connected to the child. The warrant in the case has been sealed.

She is being held in lieu of $250,000 bond and is due in New Britain Superior Court Tuesday morning.

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Teen charged with faking home invasion


GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) A Greenwich teen has been charged with staging a home invasion at his own house.

The 17-year-old, whose name has not been released, faces charges including burglary, larceny and filing a false police report.

The Greenwich Time reports the teen called police on Nov. 17 and said two masked men had broken into his house, assaulted him and taken $11,500 in jewelry.

Police say their investigation found the teen conspired with a friend to steal the jewelry and make it look like a home invasion. They say another arrest is expected.

The 17-year-old is due in Juvenile Court on Dec. 16.

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Highway closed for hours after Enfield accident


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) A fatal accident in Enfield closed the southbound side of Interstate 91 for several hours.

State police say a car with Massachusetts plates struck a guardrail and flipped just before 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Three people were thrown from the vehicle. One of them was killed, the two others were seriously injured.

State police shut down the highway while trying to determine what led to the accident. They are asking anyone with information to call them.

The names of the victims and the conditions of the survivors have not been released.

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Man fatally shot; 2nd weekend killing in Hartford


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Hartford police are investigating a shooting that is the city's second homicide this weekend.

Police said a man between 18 and 30 years old was found shot in the head early Sunday in a driveway on Bond Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Saturday morning, police found 34-year-old Jonathan Cox of Hartford stabbed on Benton Street. He was taken to Hartford Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The deaths bring the number of killings in Hartford this year to 17.

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Meeting planned for proposed state park in Waterford


WATERFORD, Conn. (AP) Three state agencies plan to publicly introduce the team that will be working with the community on developing a new state park at the former Seaside Sanatorium in Waterford.

A public meeting is scheduled Monday night at the Waterford Town Hall auditorium.

Representatives from the state Office of Policy and Management, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Department of Administrative Services are scheduled to attend the meeting. Representatives from Oak Park Architects LL., the Connecticut firm chosen to help with the master planning, will also be on hand.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said the state wants to hear ideas and suggestions from the public about the future park, which sits along the shore of Long Island Sound. Additional local meetings are planned for early 2015.

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Congress approves Coltsville Park in Hartford


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials are celebrating congressional approval of a new national park in Hartford centering on the historic Colt Fire Arms factory building with the blue, onion-shape dome.

The U.S. Senate on Friday approved plans for the Coltsville National Historical Park as part of a massive defense policy bill that was sent to President Barack Obama.

Congressman John Larson says the approval was the culmination of more than a decade of work to preserve the factory and surrounding area as well as make it a destination and history hub. The Connecticut Democrat says the park designation will drive economic growth and help create jobs.

Plans call for a visitors' center at the former factory building built in 1855, a multimedia tour experience and an observation area overlooking the park.

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Mistrial is declared in child custody-hit man case


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A judge has declared a mistrial because of a deadlocked jury in the case of a Connecticut woman accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill her ex-husband during a child custody case.

A judge declared the mistrial Friday in the case of former Bloomfield resident Tiffany Stevens, who remains free on $1 million bail. The case is expected to be retried before another jury.

Stevens pleaded not guilty to attempted murder on allegations she paid $5,000 to a maintenance man in Simsbury to kill Eric Stevens in 2012.

Prosecutors say Tiffany Stevens was secretly recorded on audio talking about the alleged plot, but her lawyer said the recording was inconclusive and accused Eric Stevens of making up the story.

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Mayflower replica leaves Plymouth for repairs


PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) The replica of the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America has set sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts, to another historic port in Connecticut where it will undergo a restoration.

The Mayflower II departed Plymouth harbor Friday for Mystic Seaport for the six-month project. The 57-year-old ship, owned by the Plimoth Plantation living museum, is being pulled by a tugboat.

Plans call for the 106-foot-long ship to arrive in Mystic on Sunday, after stops in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and New London, Connecticut.

If the repairs go on schedule, the Mayflower II will be back in Plymouth in May for the summer tourist season. But seaport officials have said it could return to Mystic for additional work over the next two winters to get it in shape to sail in 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival.

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New Haven chief's actions at Yale game questioned


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) New Haven officials are raising questions about Police Chief Dean Esserman's behavior during a confrontation with an usher at the Yale-Army football game in September.

The New Haven Register reports that city aldermen have forwarded a letter by a Yale professor describing Esserman's actions to city police commissioners for an investigation.

Yale epidemiology professor Dan Weinberger says the dispute happened at the Sept. 27 game at the Yale Bowl. He says Esserman threatened to ``shut the whole game down'' after an usher asked to see his tickets.

Weinberger says Esserman replied that he didn't need tickets because he was the police chief, verbally abused the usher and demanded the usher's supervisor remove the worker.

Esserman acknowledges that he acted inappropriately and says he apologized soon after the incident.

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Enfield sweep nets 18 drug dealer suspects


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) Enfield police have arrested 18 people suspected of drug-dealing and are seeking the arrests of nine others following a lengthy investigation into heroin and crack cocaine sales.

The Journal Inquirer reports that police Chief Carl Sferrazza said the investigation began last February with police infiltration of a bar frequented by a biker gang. He would not identify the bar or gang.

Sferrazza said police launched the lengthy investigation as officers gathered information about drug activities. Local police were helped by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Police have secured 54 arrest warrants for 27 mid- to high-level drug dealers who face 64 charges. Most charges are related to the sale of drugs, though others include assault and burglary.

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Tenet Healthcare drops bid for 5 state hospitals


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Tenet Healthcare Corp. is abandoning plans to acquire five hospitals in Connecticut, citing what it calls extensive state conditions.

Tenet, based in Dallas, referred to draft decisions by state officials with nearly 70 conditions on the Waterbury hospital deal.

The health care company said it respects the role of state regulators. But it said the extensive list of proposed conditions on the Waterbury Hospital deal led it to conclude that the approach of regulatory oversight in Connecticut would not allow it to operate the hospitals safely. The Waterbury Hospital was to be the first of four transactions by Tenet.

Attorney General George C. Jepsen said he does not believe his conditions focusing on protecting the hospitals contributed to Tenet's decision.

The state Office of the Healthcare Advocate also called for conditions.

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Women accuse Waterbury judicial marshal of coercing sex


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Authorities say several women suspected of prostitution have told state police that a Waterbury judicial marshal charged with promoting prostitution posed as a police officer to coerce them to perform sex acts.

The Republican-American reports that a search warrant application filed in connection with the arrest of Michael Connelly says he hosted a suspected prostitute at his apartment where she had sex with at least two men.

Other suspected prostitutes told police Connelly showed them a badge and said he was a cop.

Connelly was arrested last month on charges of promoting prostitution.

In Waterbury Superior Court Wednesday, Connelly's lawyer, Leonard Crone, objected to his client's transfer to Litchfield Superior Court. He said it was an unfair hardship. He said he doesn't know why Connelly's case is treated differently.

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Metro-North bans alcohol for annual weekend Santa festival


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Santa is expected to be sober on Metro-North Railroad.

The commuter rail line said Wednesday that alcohol will not be permitted on trains and stations this weekend as holiday revelers dressed as Santa Claus travel to SantaCon events.

SantaCon is an annual gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, visiting bars and restaurants.

Alcohol will not be permitted on Metro-North trains and stations from 9 a.m. Saturday through 9 a.m. Sunday. Metro-North says MTA police at Grand Central Terminal and other stations and trains will enforce the ban.

The police will confiscate alcohol and issue summonses with fines of up to $50, up to 30 days in jail or both.

Alcohol is generally allowed on Metro-North, but it occasionally bans liquor during special events.

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Stamford: Property owners liable for slip-and-fall lawsuits


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Stamford is trying to shift legal liability in slip-and-fall lawsuits to private property owners.

The Stamford Advocate reports that Mayor David Martin has submitted legislation to put legal responsibility for snow-related injury claims onto property owners.

He's acting following a state Supreme Court ruling last month. The justices ruled that property owners can't be sued for injuries from a fall on a sidewalk in front of their home or business unless a municipal law makes them liable.

Martin said that before the court ruling, homeowners would be responsible for clearing sidewalks, though he says the injured person would sue ``everybody in sight.''

Current local law requires property owners to clear their sidewalks within 12 hours after a storm ends, but it doesn't address liability.

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Tragic Fire in Enfield: Four People Unaccounted For


ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) Police say four people are unaccounted for after a fire swept through a two-family Connecticut house.

Firefighters responded at about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday to the fire in Enfield, about 20 miles northeast of Hartford, in north-central Connecticut.

There are reports that five people were evacuated from the house.

Fire Department spokesman Mark Zarcaro says the building partially collapsed.

Media reports say three people live in one side of the home and a family of six lives on the other side.

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Ct Gas Now Under 3 Dollars A Gallon


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) For the first time in more than four years, Connecticut motorists are paying less than $3 a gallon for regular gas.

AAA said Wednesday the average price of regular gasoline in Connecticut is $2.995. That's down 24 cents in the last month and 67 cents less than at this time last year.

It's the first time regular gas was less than $3 a gallon since Nov. 5, 2010. AAA says that's the longest streak ever above that price.

Connecticut still has the fourth highest average price in the country, behind New York, Alaska and Hawaii.

The cheapest gas is in Missouri at $2.32.

Prices are falling because of high global crude oil supplies and partly due to rising U.S. production. Global demand is relatively weak because of slowing economic growth in Europe and Asia.

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UConn in negotiations to buy hotel for $9.1 million


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) The University of Connecticut has entered into negotiations to buy a hotel located on campus for about $9.1 million and turn it into a dormitory.

The school exercised its right of first refusal after another company approached the owners of the Nathan Hale Inn and offered just under $8.4 for the building, which sits atop university property.

The school says it would need to spend the additional money to bring the building up to code and buy new furniture.

The school currently leases 50 rooms in the 98-room hotel for student housing, at a cost of about $1.1 million per school year.

The school says demand for on-campus housing has outpaced capacity for the last 13 years.

The school's Board of Trustees is scheduled to authorize the purchase on Wednesday.

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Suspect in shooting death waits for return to Massachusetts


NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Court officials in Springfield, Massachusetts, say the suspect in the 2009 killing of a New Britain High School football player will not waive extradition to Massachusetts, forcing a two-month process returning him to the Bay State.

The New Britain Herald reports that Michael Rodriguez was taken into custody Dec. 1 after Springfield police notified authorities he may have been in Bridgeport.

Authorities say the 30-year Rodriguez will be charged with murder in the shooting death of Julian Cartie in Springfield in February 2009. The 25-year-old Cartie was preparing to head to Afghanistan with a Connecticut National Guard unit.

Rodriguez is being held on $500,000 bond in Connecticut.

Springfield court officials say he declined to waive extradition at an appearance in Bridgeport Superior Court last week.

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State transportation chief questions Union Station cost


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Extensive remodeling plans at Union Station in New Haven may have to be scaled back over cost concerns.

The New Haven Register reports that state Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said Monday a 2013 proposal is a ``nice plan,'' but may not be financially feasible.

He said the cost is significant and the proposal asked what could be done if money were no object.

The remodeling proposal would cost about $4.4 million, which would be in addition to a 645-car garage, resulting in 459 net new spaces at a cost of $14.8 million. The plan includes a privately financed building for residences facing Union Avenue with retail space.

The 2013 report proposed a two-story annex at Union Station for deeper retail bays and more passenger seating and waiting areas.

 

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