Lawyers for Ellington Man Accused in Wife's Killing Ask Judge to Toss Evidence

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Richard Dabate appeared in Rockville Superior Court Wednesday and Thursday as his lawyers argued to suppress key evidence in his upcoming murder trial.

What to Know

  • Connie Dabate, 39, was found dead in her Ellington home in 2015.
  • Her husband, Richard Dabate, was arrested in April 2017 and charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and making a false statement.
  • Richard Dabate's legal team is working to have evidence thrown out including Connie's FitBit that goes against his account of what happened.

The evidence they’d like dismissed are statements Dabate made to detectives while he was being treated at Hartford Hospital in the immediate hours after his wife, Connie Debate’s death in 2015.

State police found Connie's body inside the couple's home in December 2015. Dabate told investigators that an armed intruder broke into his home, attacked him and killed her. He was arrested in April 2017.

The defense says Dabate, who is charged with the murder, was not read his Miranda rights, thus his statements, made at the hospital on the morning of December 23, 2015, are inadmissible in court.

According to court documents, Dabate was admitted to Hartford Hospital that day around 11:30 a.m. He had multiple injuries from what Dabate says was a home invasion. 

The court filing says at 1:13 p.m. detectives began questioning Dabate. The defense says the interrogation shifted from foundational questions to accusatory questions. 

The prosecution played a complete six and a half hour audio account of the interview police conducted with Dabate while he was being treated. During the audio account Debate describes an event where a man broke into their Ellington home, killed his wife, and tied him up.

He also told police about an affair he was having and admitted that other woman was pregnant.
He told police that his wife was not only aware but wanted the other woman to have the baby, so she and Debate could have a third child.

Detectives were skeptical and confronted Debate on the story, saying his account of what happened was inconsistent. When discussing the idea of a polygraph, police said Dabate asked for a lawyer and the interview ended.

From the audio file, not only could you hear what was said but how it was said. Debate showed little emotion throughout until it was clear police doubted his story.

In court Wednesday, detectives testified there were inconsistencies with Dabate’s answers

“From our entire interaction with him over the course of the interview, his recollection was kind of evolving, said Connecticut State Police detective Jeff Payatte.

Detectives Payette and Brett Langevin testified that Debate had signed several consent forms allowing them to search his home and clothing, photograph his injuries, take DNA Samples, search his phone and test for gun residue. Police say Debate was also warned of the penalty of providing a false statement before he SIGNED that statement.

During this process police say Debate was compliant and his demeanor was calm throughout.

Additionally, the defense made a motion to bar any Ellington resident from serving on the jury, arguing the press coverage and word of mouth in the small town where the murder occurred, makes it difficult to conduct a fair trial.

“Very strong information, evidence that just within Ellington he cannot get any fair jurors,” said defense attorney, Trent Lalima.

Judge Julia Dewey made no ruling but challenged the idea of baring Ellington residents from the Jury. She stated they have a right to be on the jury.

“I’m talking about the jurors right to be on the Jury,” Dewey said while addressing the defense team. “You’re trying to exclude them and they have a right too According to the US Supreme Court.”

Jury selection is scheduled to begin in March with a trial expected in April.

Debate has pled not guilty to shooting and killing his wife and remains free on bond.

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