It seemed that Kenneth Vincent’s killers would never be called to justice. Then Mike Wuchek started asking questions.
Vincent was killed over seven years ago at the age of 43 after an all-night card game on Sheldon Terrace. This week, police arrested the men they say are responsible.
Police investigated the murder. But they couldn’t find the killers. They closed the investigation in 2009.
Then one of the department’s crack murder detectives, Mike Wuchek (pictured), took a fresh look at the case. He interviewed old witnesses. He found new people to interview.
Thanks to Wuchek’s work, police arrested two New Haven men this week and charged them with committing the murder.
A dozen of so supporters of the two men showed up in Superior Court on Elm Street Thursday afternoon as the two men, shackled and wearing hooded sweatshirts, jeans and sneakers, appeared before Judge Maureen Keegan. She set their bails at $1 million and $750,000, then had their cases transferred to the Church Street state courthouse, where they’re scheduled to appear next Tuesday.
The court beefed up the number of marshals present in the courthouse right before the two suspects were brought into Courtroom B for their brief appearance before the judge. “Please do not shout out when these cases are called” or jump up, Keegan advised the people seated in the court’s spectator section. They followed her order.
The suspects are 26 and 30 years old; they ahve extensive criminal records. Like Kenneth Vincent, they are from Newhallville. The father of one of the suspects grew up with Vincent.
Wuchek picked up the case again in April 2009, part of the police department’s effort to revisit cold cases. After reinterviewing old witnesses and developing new sources, he concluded that “the homicide was the result of a robbery gone bad,” reported police spokesman Officer David Hartman. “Detective Wuchek learned that the homicide was the result of a robbery gone bad,” Hartman said. “Kenneth Vincent along with several other individuals were inside 45 Sheldon Terrace playing cards until the early morning hours of Dec. 14, 2006. [The two suspects] learned of the card game and set out to rob people as they left the game.”
Police invited Vincent’s family to headquarters Thursday for a press conference to announce the arrests. It coincided with the court appearance downtown.
Lt. Tony Reyes, who supervised Wuchek’s investigation, praised “his passion and his tenacity he brings to these investigations. He really takes it personally.”
“We’re not forgetting about these homicides,” Reyes added.