Victims of the State

10 Cases

Map of Counties

U.S. Cases


County:   Hartford   Litchfield   New Haven   New London




Date of Alleged Crime


Hartford County, CT Richard Lapointe Mar 8, 1987 (Manchester)

After an unrecorded nine and one-half hour interrogation, 43-year-old Richard Lapointe confessed in 1989 to the 1987 murder of 88-year-old Bernice Martin, his wife's grandmother.  Lapointe, a mentally handicapped adult, signed three contradictory confessions to raping, stabbing, and strangling Martin.  No physical evidence linked Lapointe to the crime or corroborated any of his incriminating statements.  The confessions contradicted the facts of the crime.

Lapointe confessed to moving Martin's body, which weighed 160 pounds, yet surgery he had made him incapable of lifting more than 50 lbs.  A timeline of Lapointe's activities makes it virtually impossible for him to have committed the crime.  The killer's gloves were left behind at the crime scene, but they were too large to fit Lapointe's hands.  Eyewitnesses saw a large man who did not match Lapointe's description running away from the crime scene; they insisted that this man was not Lapointe.  Lapointe was convicted of the murder and is serving life without parole plus sixty years.  (  [9/05]


Hartford County, CT Ricky Hammond Nov 30, 1987
Ricky Hammond was convicted in 1990 of kidnapping and sexual assault.  The victim identified him as her assailant and she even identified his car and its contents, using apparently police supplied information.  A police lab analyst inferred that hair samples of the assailant matched Hammond.  Hammond had an uncorroborated alibi and had altered several details of his alibi.  Pre-trial blood and DNA tests exonerated Hammond, but at trial, prosecutor John Malone claimed the evidence had been contaminated, a claim an appellate court deemed highly improbable.  The state had other evidence at trial that could have been – but was not – tested.  After further DNA tests were performed, Hammond was retried and acquitted in 1992.  (CBJ) (FJDB) (IPT) (DH)  [7/05]


Hartford County, CT Miguel Roman Jan 2, 1988 (Hartford)
Miguel Roman was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, 17-year-old Carmen Lopez.  Three days after relatives last heard from her on Jan. 2, 1988, Lopez was found bound and strangled in an apartment on Nelson Court in Hartford.  She was six-months pregnant at the time.  Roman's conviction was based on circumstantial evidence and testimony from Lopez's friends and family, and despite testimony from an FBI investigator about tests that eliminated him as a suspect.  It was alleged that Roman wanted to kill his unborn baby.  DNA tests performed years later showed that he was not the person who murdered Lopez and was not the father of her unborn baby.  The tests implicated another man, Pedro Miranda, who had been dating Lopez's cousin at the time of the murder.  Miranda is also accused of killing of 16-year-old Rosa Valentin in 1986 and 13-year-old Mayra Cruz in 1987.  Roman served 18 years in prison before being released in 2009.  (NB Herald) (NBC CT)  [5/09]


Hartford County, CT James Calvin Tillman Jan 22, 1988
James Calvin Tillman was convicted of rape because a victim making a cross-racial identification picked out his picture from a series of photos.  Tillman was released in 2006 after a DNA test excluded him as the rapist.  In 2007, both houses of the Connecticut legislature voted unanimously to award Tillman $5 million for his wrongful imprisonment.  (AP News) (IP)  [9/06]


Hartford County, CT Mark Reid Nov 8, 1996
Mark Reid was convicted of kidnapping and rape.  The victim was abducted in the early morning hours while walking along Burnside Ave. in East Hartford, then assaulted in adjacent Martin Park.  The victim, a white woman, initially identified her assailant as a light-skinned black man, 5'7" with freckles, but Reid was 6' without noticeable freckles.  The victim said her assailant put on a condom before raping her.  A hair analyst identified foreign pubic hairs found on the victim to be of Negroid origin and testified they matched Reid to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.  DNA tests exonerated Reid in 2003 and showed the foreign hairs came from a Caucasian.  (IP) (Appeal)


Hartford County, CT Michael Cyr Feb 28, 2005 (Manchester)
While intoxicated, Michael Cyr had remotely started his car and sat in the driver's seat with the driver's side door open.  He was subsequently arrested for “driving while intoxicated,” although he never drove the car, nor did he put keys in the ignition.  After unsuccessfully trying to dismiss the charge, Cyr made a conditional no contest plea to the charge, which allowed him to challenge it later.  He was sentenced three years imprisonment with two of the years suspended, three years probation, and a $2000 fine.  In 2007, an appeals court reviewed the conviction.  It noted that the state had produced no evidence that Cyr had the car's ignition keys on him or that Cyr's car was capable of motion without the keys.  It then reversed the conviction, citing insufficient evidence that Cyr was operating a motor vehicle under the meaning of the Connecticut “driving while intoxicated” statute.  (Connecticut v. Cyr) [1/08]


Litchfield County, CT Peter Reilly Sept 28, 1973 (Falls Village)
Peter Reilly was convicted of killing and mutilating his mother, Barbara Gibbons, after being coerced by the state police into confessing.  Playwright Arthur Miller, author William Styron, and the NY Times came to his defense.  The prosecutor handling Reilly's second trial discovered that the former prosecutor's files contained documents showing that Reilly arrived at the scene of the murder only minutes before the police and thus could not have committed the crime.  Reilly was cleared in 1976.  (InjusticeBusters)  [9/05]


New Haven County, CT William B. Coleman 2002 (Waterbury)
William B. Coleman was convicted of raping his wife.  His wife made the allegation after Coleman filed for sole custody of their children, and the wife had hired a divorce lawyer.  Coleman's lawyers argued that his wife made the rape allegation as a ploy to gain sole custody of their two children.  The conviction was based solely on wife's testimony.  Coleman was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, sentence to be suspended after he serves 8 years.  (TruthInJustice)  [7/05]


New London County, CT Delphine Bertrand Dec 24, 1943 (Old Lyme)
Delphine Bertrand and three men visited James Streeto on the night of his murder. Bertrand and one of the men then went to have sex in another part of the house.  While they were gone, the two remaining men killed Streeto.  Bertrand pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April 1944 because she preferred being branded a killer than to having her sex life revealed during trial.  In 1946, after the two actual killers confessed, the indictment against Bertrand was dismissed.  (FJDB) (ISI) (DH)  [12/07]


New London County, CT Julie Amero Oct 19, 2004

While serving as a substitute teacher at the Kelley Middle School in Norwich, Julie Amero accessed the classroom computer.  The computer was infested with adware, spyware, and other malware.  It also had a browser that did not protect against pop-ups.  While accessing an innocent web site, the computer launched into an endless cycle of pop-up window ads for porn sites, that was impossible to get out of.  The pop-ups displayed images of naked men and women, couples performing sexual acts, and "bodily fluids."  Up to 10 students saw the pop-ups, even though Amero tried to shield them by pushing them away or blocking their view.  Amero reported the incident to others, including an assistant principal, who told her not to worry.

Amero was later prosecuted for the incident and convicted in 2007 of multiple felonies involving the endangerment of children.  Norwich Detective Mark Lounsbury, a computer crimes officer, testified as an expert witness for the prosecution.  He maintained that Amero was intentionally surfing for pornography and must have "physically clicked" on pornographic links to unleash the pornographic pictures. Lounsbury's testimony that pop-ups require clicks contradicts the experience of millions of computer users.  Lounsbury admitted under cross-examination that the prosecution never even checked the computer for malware.

Following her conviction, but prior to sentencing, the computer was checked by the Connecticut State Patrol.  It determined that the pop-ups were caused by malicious adware that infected the computer before Amero had access to it.  In June 2007, the trial judge overturned Amero's conviction on the grounds that the jury relied on false testimony.  Amero had faced up to 40 years of imprisonment.  (Norwich Bulletin 1-6-07)  (FJDB)  [2/07]