State Supreme Court Permits Retrial for Richard Lapointe

As seen on WNPR

By Aundréa Murray

This July 1994 file photo shows Richard Lapointe at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., where he is serving a life sentence for the 1987 murder and rape of Bernice Martin, the 88-year-old grandmother of his wife. The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 from prosecutors who are appealing whether Lapointe, who has brain damage and whose murder conviction was overturned in 2012, should get a new trial. (AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud, File)
This July 1994 file photo shows Richard Lapointe at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, Conn., where he is serving a life sentence for the 1987 murder and rape of Bernice Martin, the 88-year-old grandmother of his wife. The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 from prosecutors who are appealing whether Lapointe, who has brain damage and whose murder conviction was overturned in 2012, should get a new trial. CREDIT: AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jim Michaud

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for a brain-damaged man sentenced to life in prison for the 1987 killing of his wife’s 88-year-old grandmother.

The high court released the four-to-two ruling Tuesday, saying 69-year-old Richard Lapointe was deprived of a fair trial because prosecutors failed to disclose notes by a police officer that may have supported an alibi defense.

After a nine-and-a-half hour interrogation, Lapointe was arrested back in 1989. According to The Hartford Courant, he signed three inconsistent confession statements and the interrogation was not recorded.

A lower court in 2012 overturned Lapointe’s convictions for capital felony murder, sexual assault and other crimes.

Lapointe was convicted of killing Bernice Martin, who was found stabbed, raped and strangled in her burning Manchester apartment. A judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of release, setting off efforts by high-profile supporters such as writers Arthur Miller and William Styron to prove his innocence.

On WNPR’s Where We Live, Tom Condon from the Hartford Courant called the Court’s decision “courageous.” Listen to the panel’s discussion during the weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse:

Advocates for mentally disabled and wrongfully imprisoned people, who call themselves Friends of Richard Lapointe, have been keeping others updated on the progress of the case.

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