A man, who was sentenced to death for killing a police officer in cold blood, was just re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The re-sentencing of Richard Reynolds comes after the state repealed the death penalty just two years ago.
Even before the death penalty was abolished many who work inside the court already believed that the state didn't have a workable death penalty, to begin with, and they point to this very case as an example.
Waterbury Police Officer Walter Williams was killed in 1992 by Reynolds.
“He killed officer Williams because he did not want to go back to jail because he was in possession of a gun and drugs that day,” Senior Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia S. Serafini said.
Reynolds was sentenced to death in 1995, yet he was able to live to see the death penalty in Connecticut get abolished. His sentence was officially switched to life in prison without the possibility of parole, today.
“I think it's a travesty of justice. He has issued the death penalty,” Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens said. “Because of what happened in Hartford, he should be ashamed.”
It's not a punishment that sat well with the dozens of fellow officers in court on Friday. Stephens was on Waterbury's Vice Squad in 1992 when it happened.
“He was a fellow officer of mine. Hard working man, great father,” Stephens said. “His life was snuffed out by a criminal.”
In court, Reynolds was silent but observant. He was watching the proceedings, sometimes looking at Williams' family during their testimony. Williams' mother recalled the horror of watching her son's last moments.
“All I could see was the bandage on his head, getting redder and redder with his blood each time we saw him,” victim's mother said.
Reynolds is now 49 years old. Time and time again, through various appeals, he was able to delay his execution. That cuts the Williams’ family deep because they had the expectation of a death sentence, but they never saw it. Now, with the death penalty null and void, they'll never see it.
“I am telling the killer of my son, Walter T Williams, that I will never ever forgive him,” victim's mother said.
The state's attorney's office says the last, non-voluntary execution was back in the 1950s. Michael Ross, in 2005, was the last person to be executed and that's because he volunteered for it.
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