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State News Stories

Connecticut lawmakers to revisit legal pot in new session

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut lawmakers plan to revisit the idea of allowing recreational use of marijuana among individuals 21 and over in the new legislative session. But it remains questionable whether 2020 will be the year a bill clears the full General Assembly. The new session opens Feb. 5. Opponents, however, argue if there were enough support among legislators for the bill, it would have been passed already. Senate Democrats on Thursday announced their caucus' plans to push again for legislation that regulates and taxes cannabis, including an initial, special sales tax of 25% on top of the regular 6.35% sales tax.


Sergeant probed for alleged messages with teenage girl

COVENTRY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut police sergeant is under investigation for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to an underage girl. The Coventry Police Department Coventry has confirmed Sgt. Michael Hicks was placed on leave in October and is under an internal investigation for a complaint that was filed in September. The now 23-year-old tells NBC Connecticut she made the complaint one day after she found the Facebook conversations between her and Hicks. State police had launched a criminal investigation into the allegations but that case is now closed without filing any charges. Officials say Hicks will remain on leave until the probe is finished.


Husband in missing mom case pleads not guilty to murder

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - The estranged husband of a missing Connecticut mother of five who is presumed dead has pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping charges. Fotis Dulos appeared Thursday in a state court in Stamford, Connecticut. A judge also warned him to not violate his house arrest conditions again, or he would double the $6 million bail. Prosecutors say Dulos was seen last week removing items for a memorial for his wife that was set up near his Farmington home. Dulos denies allegations he killed Jennifer Dulos, who disappeared in May and whose body has not been found.
 


Connecticut to join other states to block 3D gun blueprints

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The attorney general of Connecticut, a state that last year placed strict limitations on “ghost guns,” announced Wednesday that his office will join 20 other states in suing the federal government to prevent the release of 3D-printed gun files online.

Democrat William Tong said the federal lawsuit will be filed once Republican Donald Trump’s administration publishes new rules that would transfer federal regulation of 3D-printed guns and other weapons, a move he contends would effectively allow for “unlimited distribution” of unregistered, untraceable and undetectable guns.

The lawsuit is being led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, also a Democrat, who first announced the planned legal action Monday.

“Release of these 3D-printed gun files would allow for the creation and proliferation of 3D-printed guns across Connecticut and across the country, which are able to bypass metal detectors and background checks safeguards,” Tong said of the weapons, which are typically all or mostly made of plastic.

Jeremy Stein, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said police in Connecticut are coming across 3D guns.

“This is what has to be stopped in Connecticut and the rest of the country,” he said. “We cannot have these things in the hands of people who are going to be a danger to to our families, to themselves and others.”

Connecticut was part of a previous multi-state lawsuit filed in 2018 against the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company, Defense Distributed, to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun. The federal government ultimately lost that lawsuit and the administration is now attempting to transfer regulation from the State Department to the Department of Commerce.

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, predicted the states’ planned lawsuit will ultimately be unsuccessful this time. He argued that the states don’t have legal standing to challenge the federal rule change, speculating they are “hoping for some kind of foothold” and maybe outlast Trump.

“I don’t think they expect to win this one,” he said. “I think it’s just good politics. I get why they’re doing it.”


Connecticut deals with 3 fatal police shootings in new year

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Three fatal police shootings in Connecticut since the start of the New Year have raised questions over the use of deadly force by law enforcement. Michael Gregory died on Jan. 2 in a confrontation with police who were called to a domestic disturbance in Ansonia. Mubarak Soulemane was shot in a stolen car after a state police chase on Jan. 15 in West Haven. Edward Gendron was shot after struggling with police inside his apartment Monday in Waterbury. There were six fatal shootings by Connecticut police in all of 2019.


Official: Hubs of innovation are crucial to economic revival

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A top Connecticut official says a new economic action plan will be rolled out in the state that will include incentives to attract employers to its cities and promote the growth of women-and-minority-owned businesses. The Hartford Courant reports David Lehman, the state's commissioner of economic and community development, announced a strong push will be coming to create hubs of innovation in the manufacturing, health care, insurance and bio-science industries. Lehman says Gov. Ned Lamont will roll out a plan in the coming weeks that he hopes will answer and resolve a lot of the state's economic and development issues.


Family, clergy demand reforms after fatal shooting by police

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Clergy and relatives of a 19-year-old man killed by a Connecticut state police trooper have met with the state's public safety commissioner to demand reforms. Family of Mubarak Soulemane and pastors asked Commissioner James Rovella on Tuesday to send the trooper home on suspension and increase de-escalation training. Officials say Trooper Brian North fatally shot Soulemane on Jan. 15 in West Haven as Soulemane sat in the driver's seat of a car and displayed a knife after a carjacking and chase. North is on administrative duty pending an investigation. Local clergy say Rovella promised to improve training and diversity within state police.


Court ruling ends long legal fight in Chinese torture case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal appeals court ruling has ended a 15-year-old legal fight in the U.S. over whether a Chinese television official incited torture in his country against members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday rejected a request by members of the movement to file an amended lawsuit. A federal judge in Connecticut dismissed the case six years ago. Chinese citizens accused Zhao Zhizhen, a radio and television executive in China, of inciting torture against them through anti-Falun Going programming. Zhao denied the allegations.


Man accused in wife's death requests change of venue

VERNON, Conn. (AP) - Lawyers for a Connecticut man charged with murder in the killing of his wife have requested the judge move the trial because of extensive media coverage surrounding the case. Richard Dabate, of Ellington, has maintained his innocence since he was charged in the shooting death of his wife Connie Dabate in 2017. The Hartford Courant reported Monday that Dabate's lawyers submitted a request for a change of venue on Jan. 14. If the judge declines, Dabate's lawyers have asked that Ellington residents be excluded from the jury because they would prevent him from receiving a fair trial.  

Connie Dabate was found shot to death in the basement of the couple’s home in 2015. Richard Dabate told investigators at the time that a masked man shot his wife and tied him up.

But state police found information from his wife’s Fitbit activity tracker that contradicts his story and shows she was moving around an hour after he said she was killed. Authorities also found that Richard Dabate had a girlfriend who was 10 weeks pregnant at the time of his wife’s death.

Dabate has been free on $1 million bail. He is charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and lying to police.


Man killed by police in Waterbury during fight in home

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Waterbury police say a man was killed byofficers while they were checking out a report of a bullet being shot through two homes' common wall. Chief Fernando C. Spagnolo says officers received a call Monday from a property manager of the Craigie Avenue home. Officers responded at about 12:30 p.m. and fought inside a unit with a man, using "deadly force." The man was rendered medical aid and later pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene. Spagnolo said the man had an active gun permit for the state of Connecticut and a gun was found. The officers who were at the scene are expected to be OK. They were not wearing body cameras.


Man rescued after falling off railroad bridge into river

DERBY, Conn. (AP) - Authorities in Connecticut have rescued a man found clinging to rocks in the Housatonic River after he fell from a railroad bridge. The man said he was walking on the trestle bridge Sunday night when he lost his footing and plummeted into the river. He told emergency crews that he made it to a pile of rocks surrounding a pylon where he waited for help. The man was taken to Yale New Haven Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and possible frostbite.


Longtime fire marshal killed in motor vehicle crash

The longtime fire marshal of Orange, Connecticut has been killed in a motor vehicle crash. Police say Timothy Smith died after his vehicle stuck a tree Sunday afternoon on Litchfield Turnpike in Woodbridge. No other vehicles were involved in the incident,and there were no passenger's in Smith's car. The 56-year-old resident of Prospect had served as Orange's fire marshal since 1989. The crash remains under investigation. The New Haven Register reports that Smith was returning home from a fire call.


New commuter line exceeds 1 million passengers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - More than a million riders have traveled the commuter line between New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts that opened in June 2018. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says the Hartford Line has seen 1,075,559 passenger rides in the past 19 months. The one-millionth ride happened around Thanksgiving. Lamont's office says ridership on the line, which also serves Hartford, has been growing at a rate of 25% year-over-year. The line is also on track to exceed 750,000 passenger trips in its second year, outpacing forecasts. Lamont has proposed expanding the commuter line as part of his ten-year transportation plan.


State adds $1.1M to help combat homelessness

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut is providing more than $1 million to combat homelessness. Democratic Governor Ned Lamont said last week that the funding will support the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness' efforts to help families and individuals on the verge of homelessness. The funds complement a $2.5 million donation Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Day 1 Families Fund made last year to the Hartford-based nonprofit. Homelessness in Connecticut decreased nearly 24% in 2019 from the prior year, according to a recent federal report. Lamont says the added funds will come from the state Department of Housing's current operating budget.


Working group recommends quality control plan for quarries

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A legislative working group has released a new quality control plan for quarries. It's in response to the crumbling foundations problem afflicting many eastern Connecticut homeowners. The concrete has been deteriorating because of the presence of an iron sulfide that's been traced to a quarry in Willington. The Model Quality Control Plan recommends quarry operators producing concrete aggregate provide Geological Source Reports to the Connecticut State Geologist. These reports would be prepared by a certified geologist and document the mining, processing, storage and quality control methods used by an aggregate producer.Meanwhile, the group found there's an adequate workforce to fix affected foundations.
 


Police captain back at work 5 months after being shot

A Connecticut police captain who was shot when he intervened in a deadly shooting has returned to work after five months of recuperation. New Haven Capt. Anthony Duff thanked his colleagues and residents for their support Thursday during the department's weekly meeting to share information with community partners. Duff, a 24-year veteran, was off duty and out of uniform on Aug. 12 when he was shot three times while attempting to intervene in the killing that remains unsolved. Duff said the experience of being shot and recovering has increased his appreciation for those in his life and the kindness of strangers.


Ex-nursing home director pleads guilty to $4M embezzlement

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - The former operator of two Connecticut nursing homes has pleaded guilty to embezzlement and tax offenses in federal court. The Connecticut Post reports 71-year-old Chaim Stern, of Flushing, New York, waived his right to be indicted in Bridgeport federal court Wednesday. A news release states the charges against him developed during his time as the operator of Bridgeport Health Care Center and of Bridgeport Manor. He is accused of stealing around $4.1 million from one of the nursing home's pension plans from 2011 to 2018. Stern is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8.


Therapist charged with killing family faced fraud probe

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - A physical therapist charged with killing his wife, three children and dog in a home near Walt Disney World was being investigated for health care fraud in Connecticut. Documents unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Connecticut show Anthony Todt was being investigated by federal agents for submitting fraudulent claims for physical therapy. According to agents, the allegations involved Todt and his Colchester, Connecticut-base clinics submitting claims to Medicaid and private insurers for physical therapy services that weren't given to patients. Todt was charged Wednesday with the deaths of his wife, Megan, and their three children ranging in ages from 4 to 13.
 


Police: Husband nearly ran over wife 2 years before killing

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Newly released search warrants in the case of a missing Connecticut mother of five allege her estranged husband nearly ran her over with a vehicle two years before she was killed. A judge unsealed nearly 500 pages of search warrants Wednesday in the case of Jennifer Dulos, who disappeared last May. Her body has not been found. Her estranged husband was charged with murder last week. He denies any involvement in her disappearance or killing. The warrants describe a volatile time in the couple's relationship in the summer of 2017, when their contentious divorce and child custody case began.


Former gas station manager sentenced to jail for larceny

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman accused of stealing more than $100,000 when she was the manager at a convenience store has been sentenced to five years in jail. The Stamford Advocate reports 25-year-old Julienne Julmeus, of Stamford, was arrested and sentenced Tuesday after failing to show in court and pay back the "substantial" amount of money she owed. Julmeus was the manager at the station from 2015 to 2016, where officials say she was stealing up to $17,000 per month. White also sentenced Julmeus to five years of probation, where she would be made to pay back the money she owes.
 


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