Daily Journal masthead

Prosecutors want more tests on evidence before deciding on retrial in 1987 rape-murder case

bug
Share/Save/Bookmark

HARTFORD, Connecticut — Prosecutors said Thursday they want to run more tests on crime scene evidence before deciding whether to pursue another trial against a mentally disabled man convicted earlier of raping and killing his wife's 88-year-old grandmother in 1987.

Richard Lapointe's convictions were thrown out this year by the state Supreme Court. He was freed on bond in April after serving 26 years in prison.

Prosecutor David Zagaja (zah-GY'-ah) said at a hearing Thursday in Hartford Superior Court that the state still wants to run DNA analyses of items from the crime scene, the Hartford Courant (http://cour.at/1f5PH9G) reported.

"We have at least two items on which analysis is doable," Zagaja said.

Lapointe's lawyer, Paul Casteleiro, told the judge that his client has not been linked to the crime by any DNA testing done to date.

"It's pretty clear that Mr. Lapointe is excluded on these items," Casteleiro said.

The state Supreme Court ruled March 31 that Lapointe, a former dishwasher, was deprived of a fair trial because prosecutors failed to disclose notes by a police officer that suggest the crime occurred at a time Lapointe had an alibi.

At his trial in 1992, Lapointe was convicted of killing Bernice Martin, who was found stabbed, raped and strangled in her burning Manchester apartment in 1987. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of release. Lapointe confessed to the crime after a 9 1/2-hour interrogation, and prosecutors point to that and other evidence as proof of his guilt.

The 69-year-old Lapointe suffers from Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation that results in hydrocephalus, or water on the brain. Casteleiro said his mental impairment also made him vulnerable to giving a false confession.

After the Supreme Court ruling, prosecutors refiled murder charges but said the state needed to review the evidence before deciding whether to go forward with another trial.

Defense attorneys have been pressing for the state to dismiss all charges and clear Lapointe.


Information from: Hartford Courant, http://www.courant.com

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

Story copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


We also have more stories about:
(click the phrases to see a list)

Category:

Subjects:

Places:

 

Follow Daily Journal:

All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.