Thursday, February 20, 2014

And in the Next Cell

Meet Richard Roszkowski.

In August 2009 he was sentenced to die for the murders of Holly Flannery and her daughter, Kylie, and of Thomas Gaudet. Daniel Tepfer, of the Connecticut Post, gave some details.
Roszkowski, a former neighbor of Flannery, shot her and Gaudet each once in the head on Seaview Avenue and then chased the girl down the busy street, shooting her in the back of the thigh, the face and finally the side of the head at close range as she begged for her life, police said.
. . .
Holly Flannery had been having an affair with Roszkowski, a former neighbor, but broke off the relationship a few weeks before the murder, according to witnesses. According to testimony, Roszkowski continued to stalk Flannery, and on the day of the killings, accused his former roommate Gaudet, who did not know Flannery, of having an affair with her.
Because the judge screwed up the jury instructions, Roszkowski gets to have a new sentencing trial (not a whole new trial - the guilty verdicts stand) with a new jury.  

Before that could happen, Roszkowski was found incompetent to stand trial.  He was sent to a mental hospital which decided he was too dangerous to deal with and sent him away.  And although he was born in the US, the Polish government says he's also a Polish citizen.  Poland, of course, has no death penalty.  And it's asked to have Roszkowski's life spared.  Still, he's back now for the new trial.  

And he's got a new lawyer.  Meet Michael Courtney.

Courtney's the chief public defender in Danbury, Connecticut.  It's his job to convince the jury to spare Roszkowski's life.  To do that, he has to dig and dig, investigate.  

He looks into every aspect of Roszkowski's life.  His family, his history.  He gathers records from schools, from government agencies, from doctors, from prisons, from anywhere he can.  He interviews everyone who's ever known Roszkowski, who's ever interacted with him.  It's a big job, but it's what the lawyer (with assistance from investigators and practitioners, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, anyone who can help provide insight and understanding.

Then he sifts through it all.  He's looking for patterns, for explanations.  Why, he wants to know, is Roszkowski the way he is?  Has he been damaged?  How?  When?  What's the effect?  Did he lead an upstanding life before these crimes?  If so, what made him snap?  Eventually, he'll come up with a theme - maybe with subthemes - that he'll present to the jury to try and get them to understand, to see Roszkowski as a person, as an individual, not as a monster.  As someone who's worth saving - or who's not worth killing.

But along the way, he investigates.  And the investigation led him to this guy.
Or maybe it was this one.

Or this one.

I don't know who he is, either.  Because, see, it's this guy.

He's in witness protection from some other case, and Courtney reached out to him to be a witness for Roszkowski. Apparently, the two of them once had adjoining prison cells.
Anyway, Courtney got in touch with ____________ (don't ask how or they'll have to kill you), and as a result -- Here's Tepfer from earlier this week.
The lawyer for a Trumbull man facing a death penalty trial for the execution-style murders of a local woman, her 9-year-old daughter and a Milford landscaper in 2006, said he fears being arrested before the case can reach a verdict.
. . .
"My weekend was ruined because I was worried about being arrested," Courtney told state Superior Court Judge John Blawie. "I can't sleep at night because I don't know what they (the state attorney's office) are going to cook up, and that's not fair to my client."
For his part, the prosecutor said that he's hasn't found a basis to arrest Courtney. Yet. But he didn't say he won't turn something up.

Wisely, Courtney's hired a lawyer.  But that doesn't really solve the problem.  How does Courtney concentrate on saving his client's life when he's staying up nights wondering if the gendarmes will be coming to arrest him in the morning?  

Which is why he asked the judge to let him off the case.  To which the judge said,
I'm ordering you, Mr. Courtney, to continue to represent Mr. Roszkowski,
Because, you know, fair trials are nice, but nothing's more important than keeping the case going smoothly.  Priorities, don't you see.

If Roszkowski gets sentenced to die again, that order is likely to be the first issue on appeal.


  1. Very nicely done. I would be interested to know why he thinks he will be arrested. Has anyone ever been arrested for finding someone in the witness protection program? Is there a law against it?

  2. If I had to guess, and it looks like I have to because the author of this incredible hound failed to provide the details, I would think that Courtney either knows someone on the inside or Courtney got a few photos of ____________ together and posted them all over the Internet.

    Have you seen this man? He knows something about a crazy, violent child murderer who killed three people execution style and then set fire to the Bible and danced on the American Flag. $100,000 dollars for the arrest and capture of ________________.

    So now the cops are pissed as hell because Courtney infiltrated their secret cop club and stole the secret code. Yeah, you know, if I was Courtney I'd be worried too. I might be thinking about cashing it all in and taking a permanent vacation to Panama, or maybe Bangkok or something. Meantime, I'd up my security and reinforce my front door.

    So whattaya think? Am I right?

  3. Damned if I know.

    But if they want to find a crime to allege, they can surely find one - or make one up.