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