Jan. 25--Richard Dabate, the man accused of killing his wife in their Ellington home in 2015, rejected a plea deal Thursday in Superior Court, saying he wants to take the case to trial.
Dabate faces charges of murder in the killing of his 39-year-old wife, Connie, before Christmas in 2015. He has been free on $1 million bail as the case has moved through Superior Court.
In a brief hearing before Judge Jorge A. Simon, Richard Dabate stood in a charcoal suit and answered brief questions on whether he understood the charges, his potential prison time and the evidence against him.
"Your maximum exposure as you stand here ... is 66 years," Simon told Dabate, saying murder alone carries a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison.
Dabate, who was given three weeks to consider the plea deal, said he rejected the offer. His attorney, Hubert Santos, reiterated to Simon that Dabate wants a trial before a 12-person jury instead of a three-judge panel, available in cases of murder.
After turning down the plea deal, Simon told Dabate: "Having rejected my offer, I am not going to put that back on the table anytime before the trial."
Specifics of the offer were not discussed during the hearing. Santos declined to say how many years Dabate faced if he accepted the deal.
Dabate has remained silent publicly since the death of his wife and his subsequent arrest. He again declined to comment outside the courtroom on Thursday.
Connie Dabate was fatally shot twice with a .357 Magnum that Richard Dabate had purchased several days earlier, according to arrest records. Richard Dabate was taken into custody in April 2017.
Richard Dabate has maintained his innocence. He told investigators that armed intruders killed his wife in their home. He said he only managed an escape when he turned a blowtorch on the intruders as they tried to tie him up, arrest records show.
He was found by police on the kitchen floor, partially bound to a metal chair.
The case drew significant attention for electronic data collected by state police investigators, including the victim's Fitbit.
Data from the Fitbit showed Connie Dabate moving around the house last at 10:05 a.m., an hour after Richard Dabate said she was shot in the head by intruders, records show.
Among the troves of data, investigators found that Connie Dabate had also posted three videos by 9:46 a.m., according to police records.
Investigators reported that movement captured on the home's security system did not go along with Richard Dabate's description of the attack.
A state police dog was brought in to search for the scent of the intruders, but only found Richard Dabate's scent, according to investigators.
During an interview, Richard Dabate told investigators that he had a pregnant girlfriend, arrest records show.
He told investigators that Connie Dabate had agreed to "co-parent" the child, a statement her family and friends said was outlandish.
Days after Connie Dabate's killing, Richard Dabate attempted to claim more than $400,000 in life insurance. Investigators also discovered that Richard Dabate had made a recent $93,000 withdrawal from an investment account in his wife's account near the time of her killing.
Probate records show many of the wife's funds had been depleted by Richard Dabate.
Connie Dabate's sister has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Richard Dabate claiming he shot his wife in the head.
The criminal case and trial will now be handled by Judge Joan K. Alexander. It is not immediately clear when the trial will be held.
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