Connie Dabate

Attorney Asks Judge to Drop Murder Charges Against Ellington Man

There is a new twist in the murder case involving an Ellington man who is accused of killing his wife.

The attorney for Richard Dabate is asking a judge to drop the charges against his client who is accused of killing his wife Connie in their Ellington home back in December 2015.

On Wednesday, attorney Hubert Santos filed a motion in Rockville Superior Court to dismiss on the ground of "prejudicial pretrial publicity" he believes has been generated by proceedings in the probate court in Rockville. Judge O. James Purnell III has been presiding over the probate proceedings, but has not gone through Santos’ motion.

"I haven’t read it. I haven’t seen it. I have no idea what is in it," Purnell said.

Purnell would not go into specifics on the Dabate case, but he said all probate cases go through a relatively standard process.

"The application comes in and the next document that comes in is an inventory saying what probate assets are. Next is a final accounting, there may be some motions in-between final accounting, and then a distribution," he said.

According to Santos, the Dabate case has not been so cut and dry. In his motion, the Probate Court at Rockville has "acted as if the Defendant is presumed guilty" and "ignored the evidence supporting the Defendant’s innocence."

Jim Bergann, who is a Hartford attorney with no connection to the case, spoke to NBC Connecticut on Thursday. 

"It is unusual for a defense lawyer to take this aggressive position that Attorney Santos has taken and it's a smart position because he lays it out very clearly," Bergann said.

The motion highlights evidence pointing to Dabate’s innocence. It cites the time it took to arrest the defendant, the DNA of another person that was also found on the gun and lack of gun residue on Debate’s hands following the murder.

While Bergann does not believe the charges will be dropped, he said the motion may have already accomplished more.

"(Santos is) alerting the public, the judge and the state’s attorney this is a not so simple a case. 'You got the wrong guy and I am going to fight'," Bergann said.

Santos and Tolland state’s attorney Matthew Gedansky did not return NBC Connecticut’s request for comment.

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