Richard Dabate, accused of murder in the killing of his wife, Connie Dabate, in their Ellington home two years ago, filed a motion Wednesday seeking to dismiss the charges against Dabate because of pretrial publicity caused by a probate judge who “has embarked on a campaign to characterize Dabate as a killer.”
The unusual four-page motion filed by Hubert Santos in Superior Court in Rockville claims that by freezing all of Connie Dabate’s accounts, by trying to force Richard Dabate to testify in probate court even as the murder charge is pending, and by questioning what Dabate did with money he withdrew from his wife’s accounts after her death, Probate Judge O. James Purnell III has prejudiced Dabate’s chance to get a fair trial.
In the motion, Santos also gives a peek at what may be Dabate’s defense if the case eventually goes to trial.
Santos claims there was a previous incident at the couple’s Ellington home during which someone stuffed a rag into the tailpipe of Dabate’s car. Santos said that after that incident Dabate installed an alarm system at the house and purchased the gun that eventually was used to shoot Connie Dabate on Dec. 23, 2015.
“When the firearm was retrieved after the murder the defendant’s DNA was found on the gun. This is to be expected because the defendant purchased the gun,” Santos said. “Importantly, the DNA of another person was also found on the gun. The state police have been unable to determine what person’s DNA was also on the gun.”
Dabate, 41, is free on $1 million bail.
Connie Dabate, 39, was found shot in the back of the head in the basement of the couple’s home. Richard Dabate told state police that his wife was killed by a masked intruder who shot her after chasing her into the basement. He told police he fought with the man in the second-floor bedroom before he was subdued by the intruder.
Richard Dabate was found by police sprawled out in the kitchen of the couple's large, colonial-style home. One of his arms and a leg were secured to a folding chair with a zip tie, and he had superficial knife wounds. Dabate told police he escaped by knocking a blow torch into the intruder's face with his free hand.
State police obtained a variety of records during their investigation, including cellphone records for the couple, computer records from Richard Dabate’s laptop, Facebook records for both of them and Dabate’s girlfriend, text messages and Fitbit records for Connie Dabate.
Connie Dabate's Fitbit showed her last movements were at 10:05 the morning she died, nearly an hour after Richard Dabate told police she had been killed. Facebook records showed Connie Dabate posted three videos at 9:46 a.m., and the alarm system records showed movements throughout the house that didn't match Richard Dabate's description of the attack, the arrest warrant showed.
In his motion, Santos said some of the electronic records either can be explained or may not be admitted as evidence. One of the claims is that the house alarm didn’t go off, raising questions about the intruder theory. But Santos said the alarm system, which was installed after the tailpipe incident, “had malfunctioned on a number of occasions before the homicide.”
Santos also raised questions about the Fitbit evidence and how he may try to keep it from ever coming before a jury. Santos said a Fitbit is not a calibrated instrument, such as an Intoximeter, which is admissible evidence in drunk driving cases.
Dabate eventually told state police in a six-hour interview that he had a pregnant girlfriend and that his wife was going to help “co-parent” the baby. He later acknowledged that the pregnancy wasn't planned.
He promised his girlfriend that he was getting a divorce, according to the arrest affidavit. The baby was born in February of last year. Richard and Connie Dabate had two sons who were 6 and 9 at the time of the murder.
Five days after the murder, Richard Dabate tried to claim his wife’s $475,000 life insurance policy but was rebuked by the insurance company.
“I’ve included what I hope is all the correct information to process my wife’s claim,” Dabate wrote.
“I’m trying to process this as fast as possible for expenses purposes. Please let me know if you need anything else from me.”
Connie Dabate’s estate was subsequently the subject of a hearing before a probate judge, who scheduled the hearing to determine why the estate was down to only $6.42. Purnell ordered Richard Dabate to appear in his court last week to explain what happened to his wife’s estate.
A new inventory was filed by Dabate’s probate attorney showing Connie Dabate’s estate was worth about $86,000. Dabate didn’t attend.
Richard Dabate, as executor of the estate, paid about $17,000 in funeral expenses and state and local taxes from his wife’s estate, records show. He then withdrew another $70,000 for himself before he was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder in April 2017. That left the estate with $6.42. It is unclear what Dabate did with the $70,000.
But Santos said Dabate had every right to withdraw those funds because he is “entitled to claim the assets to provide for his children.”
Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew C. Gedansky said he could not comment on Santos’ motion.
Full Article & Source:
Citing Probate Case Publicity, Richard Dabate Wants Murder Charge Dismissed
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