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Judge Sets Death Penalty Hearing In Bridgeport Killings

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ A state judge has decided to move ahead with a death penalty hearing for a man convicted of killing two adults and a 9-year-old girl in Bridgeport in 2006, over the objections of his lawyers.

Bridgeport Superior Court Judge Robert Devlin on Wednesday scheduled the penalty phase of Richard Roszkowski’s trial for September, the Connecticut Post reported (http://bit.ly/133bLUd). A 12-person jury will decide whether the 48-year-old former Trumbull resident should be executed by lethal injection or spend the rest of his life in prison for killing his former roommate, his ex-girlfriend and her young daughter on a Bridgeport street.

The judge rejected a request by defense lawyers to have Roszkowski undergo another competency exam. Roszkowski had been declared incompetent for the penalty phase, but was deemed competent after undergoing psychiatric exams and receiving treatment.

Roszkowski’s lawyers also had sought to avoid a penalty phase all together by asking a judge last year to sentence their client to life in prison without parole, citing the state’s repeal of the death penalty last year.

The state eliminated the death penalty, but only for future murders committed on or after April 25 of last year. Roszkowski’s lawyers were the first to challenge the repeal in court, saying eliminating the death penalty for some defendants while keeping it for others is unconstitutional.

The state Supreme Court currently is deciding whether the repeal law is constitutional, in the case of death row inmate Eduardo Santiago.

Roszkowski was convicted of murder in 2009 and sentenced to lethal injection for gunning down his 39-year-old ex-girlfriend, Holly Flannery, her 9-year-old daughter Kylie and his former roommate, 38-year-old Thomas Gaudet. Police said Roszkowski wrongly believed that Flannery was having an affair with Gaudet when he fatally shot them on Sept. 7, 2006.

A judge later overturned Roszkowski’s death sentence because of a mistake in the jury instructions and ordered a new penalty phase.
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Information from: Connecticut Post, http://www.connpost.com

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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