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Private Investigator Charged With Bribery, Witness Tampering In Case Which Freed Two

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A private investigator is charged with bribery and witness-tampering in connection with the cases of two men released from prison two years ago after serving 16 years in prison in the 1993 murder of a New Haven shopkeeper.

George Gould and Ronald Taylor were released after the prosecution’s main witness in the case against them recanted here testimony and a superior Court judge reversed the convictions.  The judge’s ruling subsequently was reversed by tje State Supreme Court.  Gould is facing a new trial.  Taylor died last fall.

Now the Chief State’s Attorney’s Office has charged 67-year-old Gerald O’Donnell of Cheshire with two counts of tampering with a witness and one count of bribery in the 2009 trial which reversed the confictions.  Each count is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

At the original trial,  the witness testified she saw Gould enter the store and argue with Eugenio Deleon Vega in 1993, that she heard a gunshot,  then saw Gould and Taylor leave the store.  Each was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

Then, in 2009,  the witness recanted that testimony,  saying she had lied and was not at the scene.

Judge Stanley Fuger said the two were victims of “manifest injustice” and ordered their immediate release.

O’Donnell is a former Cheshire police officer and state inspector who was hired as a private investigator by the public defender’s office.  He a;sp concluded that the DNA on an electrical cord used to tie DeLeon’s hands did not match eitherTaylor or Gould.

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