“We wanted him to be innocent, we really didn't want to believe that a father of two [and] husband of 12 years could possibly do this two days before Christmas,” Jury Foreperson Valerie Bonnett said.
It was the tale of an Ellington man torn between two women: his wife Connie Dabate and the mother of his kids or his mistress who he impregnated. Richard Dabate even testified he didn’t want to lose either of them.
“It was indecisive, I loved two women and I didn't want to push either of them away,” Dabate said in court testimony.
Jury Foreperson Valerie Bonnett said eventually, Dabate’s story of a masked intruder who he said shot and killed his wife Connie in 2015 at their home started to crumble. What he told the court and what the crime scene photos showed didn’t add up, she said.
“If you're dragging a nine-pound chair, the chair falls to your right hand side, it doesn't fall to on top of your body,” Bonnett said.
State prosecutor Matthew Gedansky grilled Dabate on what he called a staged crime scene but even with all the hundreds of exhibits and witness statements presented in court, Bonnett said it came down to one thing.
On a good old-fashioned chalkboard in the deliberation room, Bonnett said the iron-clad data driven story came to the surface.
“Creating this timeline of what he said, what the geotag said, what the Fitbit said, when the alarm said the basement door was open, the basement door was closed. When we had that all in front of us on this chalkboard, we literally got goosebumps,” Bonnett said.
In just five hours, after five weeks of testimony, Bonnett said the answer was suddenly clear.
Justice served for a mother, daughter and friend.
“I wish we could do more, it was a tragedy that one would hope would be avoided and we can only hope that this gives her family a little bit of closure and that that family can try to start moving on because God knows those two little boys need their family now more than ever,” Bonnett said.
Dabate has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife. He faces a judge again in August for his sentencing.
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