Jury finds Richard Dabate guilty on all charges in murder of wife
VERNON, CT (WFSB) – A jury has found Richard Dabate guilty on all charges in the murder of his wife Connie Dabate in 2015.
Dabate is guilty on charges of murder, tampering-physical evidence, and false statements.
The Ellington man was accused of killing his wife days before Christmas in 2015.
Tuesday, the jury asked to re-hear witness testimony dealing with DNA evidence.
The pandemic really delayed the start of this trial.
Connie Dabate’s family is happy she finally gets justice.
“As you know, this trial was designated as the ‘Fitbit trial.’ This trial was not about a Fitbit, this trial was about the cold-blooded and planned murder of Connie Margotta Dabate,” said Wayne Rioux, Margotta family friend.
Days before Christmas in 2015-- Richard Dabate says a man broke into their home, then shot and killed his wife Connie.
After five weeks on trial, Richard has been found guilty in Connie’s death.
“I thought we put on a very strong case for Rick as to why he was not guilty of this offense and we’re very disappointed with the outcome here. But it’s not the end of the road,” said Trent LaLima, Dabate’s attorney.
In the trial, prosecutors pointed to technological evidence like Connie’s Fitbit, which showed her moving around more than an hour after Richard said she died.
Also, Richard’s phone pinned him to their home when he said he wasn’t there.
Connie’s family say they’re relieved.
“It’s a weight lifted off my shoulders, but it’s bittersweet. Everything kinda hits home, everything we went through and tried to behind us six years ago is right in front of us right now. So I’m very happy with the verdict,” said Keith Margotta, Connie’s brother.
More than 100 witnesses testified and over 600 pieces of evidence were presented to the jury.
Experts say it was one piece of evidence, a Fitbit, that helped the jury reached a verdict.
“It placed her back in the house and placed her moving around at a time Mr. Dabate says she was already shot and killed. That was the most damming evidence especially for someone who takes the stand in his own defense,” says attorney Ryan McGuigan.
The prosecution says Richard planned killing his wife because he wanted to avoid divorce since he was about to have a child with another woman. Richard claims it was an intruder that killed his wife.
“Very disappointed in the outcome here. I thought we put a very strong case for Rick as to why he was not guilty of this offense. We are very disappointed with the outcome,” says Dabate’s attorney.
“Connie was essentially sentenced to death while this convicted murderer has been living his life out on parole for six and a half years. There will be no closure for the family, but there is finally justice for Connie.” says Rioux.
Richard will return to court on September 16 for a pre-sentencing investigation.
Richard Dabate faces a minimum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
His bond is set at $5 million.
If he does bond out, he’ll be subject to GPS monitoring.
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