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Inland Wetlands Commission Seeks Legal Opinion on Appointments

by Diana Stricker | Aug 14, 2015 10:50 am

Diana Stricker Photo Can you vote when you’re in limbo?

That’s the question the Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) wants answered by the town attorney. Three of their members whose terms expired May 31 have not yet been reappointed by the Board of Selectmen (BOS) and no one else has been appointed. 

“This limbo should be addressed,” said Dr. Robert Orson, one of the state’s leading experts on wetland issues and one of the three whose terms are still undecided. Orson, who has served on the IWC for 18 years, wants to know if the three commissioners can still vote, or if those votes could be grounds for appeal.

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Branford Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Boy

by marcia chambers | Jul 24, 2015 2:52 pm | Comments (1)

Branford P.D. A 66-year-old Branford man was arrested and arraigned this week on felony sexually assault charges in a case that began when the boy was 14-years-old, police say.

Police arrested Frank Kistler Cole, of 148 E. Main St., two days ago after they obtained an arrest warrant in connection with the case. Cole is charged with three felonies: Sexual Assault in the 1st degree, a B felony, Sexual Assault in the 2nd degree and Risk of Injury to a Child, both C felonies. 

Police say they first received a complaint from the 18-year-old victim in May, 2014. The case has been under investigation ever since.The youth accused Cole of sexually assaulting him from June 2011 to January 2014. Police did not disclose how the two met or whether they are related. Nor would they give Cole’s current or prior occupation.

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Two Men Charged In Branford Wine Heist

by marcia chambers | Jul 24, 2015 1:54 pm

A 28-year-old East Haven man has been arrested and arraigned in connection with the theft of nearly $250,000 worth of wine from Murphy Distributors, an upscale wine and beer distributor located on North Branford Road in Branford.

The man, David Moon, was released on bond. An arrest warrant has also been issued for a second man, Richard Worthington, a former employee of Murphy Distributors who worked in the company’s warehouse. Worthington is now in prison on another conviction, police said. The two men, the police say, are linked to the thefts, which took place over more than a year. 

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Branford Police Taser Death Ruled Homicide; Victim Deemed Psychotic

by marcia chambers | Jun 18, 2015 8:43 am

File Photo David Werblow, tasered by police two months ago, suffered “a sudden death following a physical altercation, including electronic shock,” the state’s chief medical examiner said yesterday.

Werblow, 41, was tasered following “resistance” during “a psychotic episode due to schizophrenia,” the medical examiner’s office told the Eagle yesterday. At the time of his death, Werblow lived in a group home for the mentally ill located in a quiet residential neighborhood on Burban Drive. The home is owned by Continuum of Care, a New Haven-based non-profit. The organization purchased the residence after receiving a state grant from the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.

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Motel 6 Scene of Felony Drug Arrests

by marcia chambers | May 12, 2015 8:59 am

Branford P.D. A 28-year-old man from Meriden named Jellybean Quintana, whom state police had ordered re-arrested after he failed to appear in court on felony risk of injury to a child charges five years ago, was arrested at Motel 6 in Branford Sunday night on a series of felony drug charges.

Quintana, Ivan Bruno, 39, of New Haven and Heather Kydon, 31, of Branford, were arrested in their motel room at 320 East Main St., after police found a stash of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana, packaging supplies and other drug paraphernalia in their room. All three have prior criminal records.

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Bello & Platt Face Resentencing in Gifting Tables Case

by marcia chambers | Apr 20, 2015 9:40 am | Comments (4)

Saying the trial judge “committed procedural error,” a federal appeals court has vacated the prison sentences for Jill Platt and Donna Bello (pictured L-R), two shoreline gifting tables leaders who were sentenced in the summer of 2013.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which includes the state of Connecticut, ruled last week that the convictions of Bello and Platt would be affirmed, but that their prison sentences would be overturned. Bello and Platt were convicted at a jury trial of multiple counts, including conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, filing a false tax return and wire fraud.

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Judge Revokes Wang’s Attorney Status

by marcia chambers | Apr 7, 2015 8:38 am | Comments (2)

WTNH-POOL In a day of high drama, Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe Jr. ruled yesterday that Dr. Lishan Wang was not mentally competent to stand trial and was no longer to act as his own attorney in his murder case. Dr. Wang is accused of gunning down Dr. Vanjinder Toor, a 34-year-old Yale University doctor, five years ago this month.

To Dr. Wang’s dismay, Judge O’Keefe also appointed Chief Public Defender Thomas J. Ullmann to serve as   Dr. Wang’s attorney for the foreseeable future. The judge did not rule out Dr. Wang’s possible self-representation sometime in the future but that scenario seems unlikely.

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Experts Say Wang Not Competent To Stand Trial

by marcia chambers | Apr 6, 2015 2:00 pm

WTNH-POOL Is Dr. Lishan Wang mentally competent to determine his defense and to conduct his murder trial?

This question was answered today by a group of experts at his competency hearing in New Haven’s state Superior Court, the second in the last five years. The court-ordered psychiatric evaluation found he was not. 

Dr. Alexander Westphal, the state’s first witness, testified that it was the team’s opinion that “Dr. Wang did not demonstrate the capacity to rationally understand the proceedings against him or to assist in his defense.” The evaluation found there was a “substantial probability” that Dr. Wang “can be restored to competence through an inpatient hospitalization at the Connecticut Valley Hospital,” a path Dr. Wang has gone down before.  Dr. Wang acted as his own attorney in court today, questioning the witnesses.

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Branford Woman Gets Probation in Gifting Tables Case

by marcia chambers | Mar 25, 2015 12:18 pm

A 78-year-old Branford woman, an admitted gifting table participant who for three years paid no taxes on the $100,000 she earned at the tables, was sentenced yesterday to one year of probation, the first six months of which she must serve in home confinement. She is the latest woman to be convicted for failing to pay taxes on the bounty she received from what was actually an illegal pyramid scheme.

U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson, who sits in Hartford, also ordered Eileen Brennan to perform 50 hours of community services and pay back taxes, interest and penalties.

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Envelope, Please

by marcia chambers | Mar 20, 2015 1:45 pm | Comments (1)

WTNH-POOL Dr. Lishan Wang, who is accused of gunning down a former colleague, Dr. Vanjinder Toor, outside his Branford condo nearly five years ago, learned yesterday that his most recent mental competency report had been filed with the court. 

Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Clifford held a short status hearing for Dr. Wang yesterday because the trial judge in the case is on vacation this month. It was at this hearing that Dr. Wang learned his competency report had been finished and filed with the judge. The report will be a determining factor in whether or not Dr. Wang continues to represent himself at his upcoming murder trial. 

The trial judge, Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe, Jr.,had ordered a new mental competency report last month after Thomas J. Ullmann, the head of New Haven’s public defender’s office, asked Judge O’Keefe to revoke Dr. Wang’s status to represent himself at trial—and to substitute Ullmann instead.

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