- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 17, 2005

Nearly two decades have gone by since Adelyne Carone heard the news that her son had been killed outside a bar in Hartford, Conn., and she’s still waiting for the man who did it to go to prison.

Adam M. Zachs was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison in 1988 for the murder of Peter Carone. But under Connecticut law at the time, a judge let Zachs out on bail while the case went to appeal. He’s been on the run since.

Authorities are now hoping to change that. Local police, the FBI and Connecticut lawmakers have pooled their resources in an effort to renew interest in the case that went cold long ago.

Last month, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell increased the reward leading to Zachs’ arrest to $50,000, and the FBI matched it with another $50,000.

“We’re hoping that with the award, maybe a person that was on the fence about whether to come forward or not will make the call now,” said Mark Puglielli, a detective working the Zachs case with the West Hartford Police Department.

Police concede they have few leads. Zachs, who was 23 at the time of the shooting, is now over the age of 40. For a time, police believed he was living Brazil. Then there were leads pointing to California.

“He could be anywhere,” said Mr. Puglielli, adding that Zachs comes from “an affluent family” that was able to pay the $250,000 bond that got him out of jail after his conviction.

“Here’s a person that hasn’t done one day in jail, and he’s been convicted of killing someone, and that’s kind of sad,” Mr. Puglielli said.

Zachs was convicted of shooting Mr. Carone in the back with handgun in 1987 after the two got into an argument at a bar. Mr. Carone, who’s described by his mother as having had a “middle-class” upbringing, was 27.

“Adam Zachs got away with murder. It boils down to that,” said Mrs. Carone, who after years of grieving went on a one-woman crusade during the late 1990s to change the Connecticut law that allowed her son’s killer to get out on bail.

She worked “diligently and very, very hard,” she said, writing to lawmakers and stuffing their mailboxes with letters on bright yellow paper. In 1998, the state changed the law to keep convicted murderers jailed throughout the appeal process.

“It’s been very hard for us,” she said. “I want the young man caught, and I want him in my lifetime. It’s being done legally and correctly, and I hope it works. I really do.”

Among the most burdensome aspects of the case, she said, is that the Zachs family has not been more helpful, even acting “as if we were the guilty ones.”

Mrs. Carone said that if the tables were turned, she “would have probably spent the rest of my life making amends to that family, if I could.”

“I would scrub their floors if I could,” the retired schoolteacher said.

Police said the Zachs family now lives in New Jersey, but the extent to which they have been involved in the investigation into their son’s whereabouts is not clear. Mr. Puglielli said West Hartford detectives and other authorities on the case have not sought help from the family since 2002.

Attempts to reach the family yesterday were unsuccessful. A man answered the telephone at one New Jersey residence listed under the name Zachs, but would not confirm or deny whether he was related Adam Zachs.

“Nobody’s got any doubt that the family has been involved in this from day one,” said Michael Carone, the twin brother of Peter Carone.

“My gut feeling is that he’s somewhere in the United States. I think he’s probably leading a normal life, changed his name, has a family, paid his taxes [last week] like everybody else.”

“If he got caught, I’d be ecstatic,” he said. “Is it gonna change my life in any way? I don’t think so. It’s not gonna bring my brother back.”

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