HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A man who shot two adults and a 9-year-old girl to death in 2006 is expected to be sentenced to die by lethal injection, with the judge potentially delivering Connecticut’s last execution order since the state has abolished capital punishment for future crimes.
Richard Roszkowski, 49, will learn his fate in Bridgeport Superior Court on Thursday, where a jury in March recommended the death penalty. He would become the 11th man on Connecticut’s death row.
The case has included a number of twists including an unsuccessful attempt by the Polish government in December to block the penalty phase. Polish officials called for a life prison sentence instead, saying Roszkowski is a dual citizen and there is no death penalty in Poland. Roszkowski’s parents were Polish.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the legislature repealed the death penalty for future murders effective April 25, 2012.
Roszkowski was convicted in 2009 of capital felony and murder for gunning down his 39-year-old ex-girlfriend, Holly Flannery, her 9-year-old daughter, Kylie, and 38-year-old Thomas Gaudet on a Bridgeport street. Police said Roszkowski stalked Flannery after she broke up with him and falsely believed she and Gaudet were romantically involved.
The 2009 jury decided Roszkowski should be put to death, but a judge overturned the sentence because of an error made during jury instructions and ordered a new penalty phase that began in January.
Roszkowski’s public defender, Michael Courtney, and prosecutor C. Robert Satti Jr. declined to comment on the case before Thursday’s sentencing.
Courtney and fellow public defender Corrie-Ann Mainville have been fighting the imposition of the death penalty. Among their arguments is that Roszkowski never should have been found competent to stand trial because he has a severe mental illness - paranoid delusion disorder. They also argue that imposing the death penalty on Roszkowski after the death penalty repeal would violate his constitutional rights.
Relatives of the victims are expected to speak during the sentencing about how the killings affected them.
Connecticut’s Supreme Court is now deciding whether the death penalty repeal violates the constitutional rights of current death row inmates who still face execution and whether it should apply to them as well.
Those questions come in the appeal of another convicted murderer, Eduardo Santiago. His death sentence was overturned by the state’s highest court in 2012 and a new penalty phase was ordered last year when the state Supreme Court found the trial judge had wrongly withheld key evidence from the jury. If Santiago loses his appeal, then he could become the final person to face the possibility of the state death penalty. The federal government still has capital punishment.
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