The Vernon woman who was the foreperson of the jury that convicted Richard Dabate this week of murdering his wife, Connie, in 2015, spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut Friday about how the jury reached its verdict.
Valerie Bonnett says she wants people to understand how she and her fellow jurors sifted through the evidence and testimony to find Dabate guilty of his wife's murder on December 23, 2015.
Connie Dabate was shot to death and found by police in the basement of the couple's Ellington home.
Richard Dabate claimed a masked intruder entered their house, found his gun, and used it to kill Connie while he had stepped out of the house for a few minutes. He told police the intruder stabbed him several times and bound him to a chair with zip ties.
Connie's Fitbit device showed that she was still moving around an hour after Dabate claimed she had been killed by the intruder.
Bonnett said it was clear to see his story didn't add up.
"So when we, you know, really looked at everything and had to take personal opinions out of it, emotions out of it --the one thing that doesn't lie, doesn't have emotions, it doesn't change the story, is the data," Bonnett said.
She said the prosecutor used that data to lay out a timeline and that the timeline told a story.
"So when they started introducing the cell phone geotagging, that clearly showed a story," Bonnett said. "Not only tracking Connie's movements that morning but where was Rick Dabate that morning. They were able to do forensic digital downloads on the Surface Pro that was found on the kitchen table. And it was again, very telling because you can see timestamps, you can see what he Googled when he Googled it, how long he was on Facebook for, what he scrolled through. I mean, there was no hiding of information."
Bonnett said Dabate's interview with police at the hospital the day of the murder didn't sit well with the jurors either.
Dabate claimed he and Connie were having trouble getting pregnant with another child and agreed to use his longtime friend, Sara Ganzer, as a surrogate. He said they agreed that Dabate would be the sperm donor and impregnate his friend in the traditional way.
"All of us were like, no matter, you know, how gracious you are and no matter how much you want a child, we couldn't swallow that Connie would be okay with an ongoing affair," she said.
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