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Torrington Firefighter on Leave After Arrest


A Torrington firefighter has been placed on administrative leave after being arrested on Tuesday.

The Torrington Fire Department released a statement saying that Firefighter Nicholas Votino was arrested on Tuesday evening and has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Officials said he was arrested in Torrington and charged with second-degree harassment.

Bond was set at $1,000 and Votino has been released.

Photo Credit: NBC10

Boyfriend Charged With Murder


"A distinct smell of decayed flesh," blood and a bullet hole led detectives to charge a 27-year-old North Texas man with murder in the death of his girlfriend last week, according to a probable cause affidavit released Tuesday. 

Jason Michael Lowe, of Richardson, was arrested last Thursday and charged with murder Friday in the death of 27-year-old Jessie Bardwell, a native of Pascagoula, Mississippi, who has been missing since April 29.

Richardson police began investigating after Bardwell’s family asked them to perform a welfare check. According to the affidavit, the family said Bardwell had been out of touch for two weeks. Her father told police on May 8 it was uncharacteristic of Bardwell not to reach out on Mother's Day. 

Officers visited the apartment Bardwell shared with Lowe twice that day to question Lowe about his girlfriend’s whereabouts. Lowe told police Bardwell had left Mother’s Day morning in her Acura MDX and had no functioning cellphone because her "pay as you go" plan had expired, according to the affidavit. On a second visit by police later in the day, no one was home. 

Police returned May 9 to speak with Lowe and found him covered in mud. Lowe said he had gone out to look for Bardwell near some trails she frequented along the President George Bush Turnpike and got muddy when the dog broke away, according to the affidavit. When officers asked about fresh cuts on his hands, Lowe allegedly said the dog had scratched him. 

His car, a black 2010 Audi Q5, was also covered in mud and police said the entire front panel was in the back seat. When officers asked about the damage, Lowe told police he had recently gone "mudding," the affidavit says.

Lowe again said Bardwell left Mother's Day morning and that it wasn't out of the ordinary for them to spend several hours apart as they "lead a lifestyle where they both do their own thing without being co-dependent," according to the affidavit.

Officers searched the Audi and a Dodge Ram pickup truck in Lowe’s possession. They found two handguns — a black Sig Sauer P320 and black Springfield XDS — in a black bag on the truck’s floorboard, according to the affidavit. Both weapons were clearly visible, police said. Lowe told the officers he owns a gray 2015 Infiniti L37 that was being repaired and that the Dodge Ram pickup truck had been provided by insurance.

Lowe then allowed the officers to walk through the couple's apartment and to check the rental garage at the complex. The officers reported no signs of a struggle and that nothing out of the ordinary was found.

Detectives entered Bardwell's Acura MDX into the LEARN-NVLS National Vehicle Location Service on May 11 in hopes of locating the vehicle. Police tracked the car to a home on Nueces Drive in Garland, where it had stopped on May 2 and May 9. The resident told investigators Lowe and Bardwell had sold him the car April 19, but that Bardwell's father was having trouble with the SUV's title.

Lowe told police the man had paid $700 for access to the vehicle but insisted Bardwell had taken it on Mother's Day, the affidavit says.

Police asked if crime scene technicians could search the residence and Lowe initially agreed, but hesitated when he learned the garage would be part of that search, according to the affidavit.

Investigators noticed "a distinct smell of decayed flesh" in the garage, according to the affidavit. Detectives spotted spotted a shovel and bullet hole in the wall, along with a bottle of Febreze near Lowe's Audi. When they opened the rear hatch, police "observed standing fluid inside the rear hatch floorboard" said the smell of rotting flesh seemed to be coming from inside the car, the affidavit says.

Crime scene technicians later confirmed the fluid to be blood. Blood evidence was also found on the floor of the rear compartment area, on a storage compartment, on the gear shift, steering wheel and driver's side door handle, according to the affidavit. Muddy boots were located inside the Audi, police said.

"Detectives believe evidence of homicidal violence and possible body disposal was present inside the Audi," police said in the affidavit.

A neighbor told police she saw Lowe standing in the bed of the truck on May 7 cleaning the vehicle. She said she also saw him removing numerous trash bags from a box.

With Bardwell still missing and the evidence found at their shared residence, Lowe was charged with murder and is being held with a recommended bond of $1 million. He also faces drug charges after police found white powder in his apartment and Lowe admitted to having "coke." It wasn't clear if Lowe had an attorney who could speak to the charges.

Lowe has a criminal history in Dallas, police said, including an arrest on May 29, 2015, for aggravated assault, serious bodily injury after being accused of assaulting his then girlfriend, causing her to lose consciousness. Bardwell and Lowe are believed to have started dating sometime before she moved to North Texas in December 2015, though it's not clear if she is the woman in the May 2015 incident.

Jason Michael Lowe - Affidavit of Probable Cause

Photo Credit: Richardson Police Dept.
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Mom Guilty of Murdering 5-Year-Old


A woman whose son's body was found after she said he disappeared at a New Jersey carnival 25 years ago has been found guilty of killing the 5-year-old. 

Michelle Lodzinski, formerly of Perth Amboy, was found guilty of first-degree murder Wednesday morning in the death of Timothy Wiltsey, who Lodzinski said went missing while they were at a carnival in Sayreville on May 25, 1991.

She later changed her story and said that Timothy had been kidnapped.

Timothy's body was found in a marshy, remote part of an industrial park in Edison nearly a year later, on April, 23, 1992. 

Gasps were heard in the packed courtroom as the verdict was read. It followed several weeks of testimony.

Lodzinski did not speak, but her brother Michael Lodzinski told reporters later, "She was crying and shaking. I feel for her, I do. I love her. I'm sorry it had to happen this way." 

But he added, "I think what was right was done, and Timothy did get justice."

"He's a great little boy and this should never happened to him," he said. 

Michelle Lodzinski was quickly handcuffed and led away after the vedict. She faces sentencing in August,  although her lawyer is expected to appeal. 

First-degree murder is punishable by 30 years to life in prison in New Jersey.

Lodzinski was arrested in 2014 in Florida, where she was living, and had denied any role in her son's disappearance or killing. 

The mother's arrest came after a cold-case review helped launch a new investigation.

The Middlesex County prosecutor at the time of Tomothy’s disappearance said following Lodzinski's 2014 arrest that he wasn’t surprised and detectives had never stopped working the case.

"We didn't have sufficient evidence at the time to pull the trigger," Alan Rockoff previously told The Associated Press. "There was no direct smoking gun here."

Michael Lodzinski said he'd asked his sister several times over the years what happened to his nephew, "and I got nothing from her." 

"We're devastated by this, right from the beginning it was a no-win situation for the family," he said. 

When Michelle Lodzinski was led out of court, he shouted to her, "I love you, sis, very, very much." 

Photo Credit: AP

Man Exposed Himself to Teen at Library in West Hartford: Police


West Hartford police have arrested a 29-year-old Hartford man who is accused of exposing himself to a teenage girl at the library.

The victim, a 17-year-old girl, told police that a man began hovering around her and acting strange when she was at the Noah Webster Library just before 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, then he exposed his genitals to her and made lewd movements, then left the library, police said.

An officer responded on a bicycle and detained found a man matching the description that was broadcast Farmington Avenue and Raymond Road and detained Anthony Lawrence.

Police said the teen identified him as the person who exposed himself.

Lawrence was charged with public indecency and second-degree breach of peace.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Torrington School Placed in Shelter-in-Place After Possible Threats


A shelter-in-place was issued at Torrington Middle School on Wednesday morning in lieu of officials investigating possible threats that were made, police said. 

The shelter-in-place that was put in effect this morning and lifted at noon was strictly precautionary as the investigation was conducted, Torrington Police said. 

Police said no student was in any danger prior to or during the lockdown procedures. 

There were no other details immediately available. 

Photo Credit: Newsworks

Police Make Arrest in Hartford Double Homicide


Police have charged a Hartford man with the murder of a young man and woman who were shot and killed just before 10:30 p.m. on Monday and said the shooting was related to emotional circumstances.

Joseph Silva, 20, of Hartford, is accused of killing Joshua Cortez, 22, of Hartford, and Alysha Ocasio, 23, of Newington and police said he was an acquaintance of both victims.

He has been charged with two counts of murder, unlawful discharge and altering or removing identification marks on a firearm. 

Police responded to Campfield Avenue and Cowles Street when the shot spotter went off at 10:24 p.m. on Monday and found Cortez, who was shot in the back of the head. Ocasio was shot in the stomacj and police found her in a car a few feet away.

Cortez was pronounced dead at the scene and Ocasio was pronounced dead at Hartford Hospital.

The grieving family members said the couple had a young daughter.

Bond for Silva was set at $3 million and his arraignment is today.

A post on the Mothers United Against Violence Facebook page says a candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at 380 Campfield Ave.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Missing Mexicans' Classmate Seeks Asylum in US


A man who witnessed the disappearance of 43 Mexican students is now applying for asylum in Minnesota, NBC News reported.

Carmelo Ramirez Morales, a classmate of the missing students, spoke with a reporter at the Star Tribune about the night of Sept. 24, 2014, and his experience with local police and the threats he received for trying to share his story. 

In the interview, Morales said he went to the Iguala attorney general’s office to identify the officers involved when the students were taken away.

He is seeking asylum in Minnesota because of threatening voice mails he received directly after returning to Mexico. He will have to prove that he faces an imminent threat if he returns to the country.

Photo Credit: AP

Branford Experiencing Discolored Water Following Main Break


Some Brandford residents and businesses are experiencing water discoloration following a water main break, the water authority said.

The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority said a water main on private property was damaged and while, it had been repaired, the work led to discolored water. 

The water authority said crews are working all day on Wednesday to flush and monitor the situation. They said water may not appear clear until Thursday. 

The discoloration is in an area from Damascus Road to Long Island Sound in Branford.  The coloring of the water is from naturally occurring sediments in the pipes that were stirred up because of high water flow, the water authority said. 

Customers are asked to use caution when washing clothes because the water could stain. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

China Intercepts US Military Plane Over South China Sea


Two Chinese military aircraft intercepted a U.S. military plane over the South China Sea Tuesday, NBC News reported.

The Department of Defense said the aircraft was flying in a “routine patrol” in international airspace when “two tactical aircraft” from China intercepted it.

China has been asserting its territorial claims over most of the South China Sea, which is believed to have large oil and gas deposits. The country has accused the U.S. of “militarizing” the area, to which Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Pacific Command.

Photo Credit: AP

New Haven Unveils Summer Calendar of Events


This summer in New Haven, there is something for everyone.

“There’s plenty of family fun, there’s plenty of date night out, there’s plenty of girl’s night out,” said Anne Worcester, the Chief Marketing Officer for Market New Haven.

The city unveiled Wednesday morning a calendar filled with food, film, music, sports and more.

“These events will attract visitors from all over the northeast and New England,” Mayor Toni Harp said. “We hope all over the United States if they know what’s good for them.”

Harp told NBC Connecticut she is excited for Music on the Green on July 23, when 90s R&B group En Vogue takes the stage.

“Some of you will remember some of their most famous songs,” she said. Songs like, “Free Your Mind, Hold On and My Loving.”

There are returning events like the Connecticut Open tennis tournament in August and NBC Connecticut and Comcast are proud to be presenting sponsors for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas from June 10-25.

For the first time, New Haven is hosting a Dragon Boat Regatta at Long Wharf, which coincides with the second Food Truck Festival the first weekend in June.

Opera Palooza! on Aug. 20 is also new this year. Opera companies from across the state will perform on the Green.

“We’re networking with all 30 towns in greater new have to make this a truly regional event,” said Andy Wolf, Director of Arts, Culture and Tourism.

Harp said all these events are reasons to visit what she calls the greatest small city in America.

“We just want people to know that if you want to have a good time this summer, come to New Haven,” she said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Canadians Affected by Wildfire Could Return Home Soon


Some of the 80,000 people forced to flee Fort McMurray because of wildfires may be able to return home on June 1, NBC News reported. 

The timeline is “conditional,” according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who made the announcement on Wednesday.

According to Notley, residents will only be allowed to return if the fire no longer poses a threat, the hospital is open and all roads are reopened. Gas, electricity and 911 service must also be restored, and food and drinking water must be available for residents.

Those who live in the least damaged area will be allowed back first, while others could be back by June 15, Notley said. 

The city was evacuated two weeks ago after fire ravaged an area bigger than New York City.

Photo Credit: AP

New Overtime Policy Could Apply to More Than 46,000 CT Residents


Overtime rules are changing in America for millions of salaried workers who currently don't get time and a half no matter how many hours they work per week.

The federal Department of Labor said the change could apply to 46,000 people in Connecticut who are paid salaries instead of hourly wages but whose salaries are now above the threshold at which their employers have to pay them overtime. That threshold is getting higher effective Dec. 1.

Eligible for overtime will be people paid an annual salary of up to $47,476. If you earn more than this, you're exempt from being paid overtime.

"You want to be compensated for the work that you do for any given company and you don't want the employer to be taking advantage of that," said Vlad Rozvadovskiy.

"You want to stay as an hourly employee. I mean working to a certain degree for salary may not really be worth that jump from the sounds of it. Employers are responsible for overtime and salaried workers aren't making that much more money," he said.

No state will see less of an impact from the change than Connecticut, according to Economic Policy Institute. It figures only 16.2 percent of the salaried workforce will see time and a half as a result of the change.

The regulation applies primarily to retail store managers and fast food restaurant managers who may make less per hour than some of the hourly workers they supervise because they get a salary.

Employers currently don't have to pay salaried managers overtime if they make more than $23,660.

School Bus Catches Fire in Hartford

Eric Fanning Sworn In as 1st Openly Gay Army Secretary


Eric Fanning was sworn in Wednesday as secretary of the Army — the first openly gay leader of any U.S. military service, NBC News reports. 

The ceremony is another historic moment for the Obama administration and for groups who have pushed for gay and lesbian rights.

"It has been a long process to get here, one that I don't think even the writers from 'House of Cards' could have scripted if they tried," Fanning said after the swearing in, calling his appointment "a tremendous honor." 

Fanning was confirmed Tuesday by the Senate after holdout Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, opposed efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Fanning waited for eight months until Roberts lifted his hold. 

The move comes five years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which prohibited gay and lesbian service members from being open about their sexuality.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Conduct Investigation at Stafford Motorcycle Store

Dr. William Petit Running for State Legislature


Dr. William Petit Jr. will run for state legislature as the Republican Party's nominee in Plainville, sources confirm with NBC Connecticut. 

Petit, 59, whose wife and two daughters were killed in a 2007 home invasion that horrified the country, decided not to run for Connecticut’s 5th Congressional seat two years ago.

The brutal murdering of his family sparked debate about the death penalty, which Petit wanted to repeal. The men responsible of murdering Petit's two daughters and wife were meant to carry out death sentences. 

Last year, Connecticut's highest court has overturned the death penalty in the state by a 4-3 decision, saying it's unconstitutional.

Joshua Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes were convicted of killing Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters.

Hayes raped and strangled Hawke-Petit, while Komisarjevsky sexually assaulted her 11-year-old daughter, Michaela. Michaela and her 17-year-old sister, Hayley, were tied to their beds and died of smoke inhalation after the house was doused in gas and set on fire.

Photo Credit: AP

Opening Day at Dunkin’ Donuts Park Might Not Be Until July


There are more construction delays Dunkin’ Donuts Park in Hartford and opening day might not happen until Fourth of July weekend, according to the chairman of the Hartford Stadium Authority.

Hartford Stadium Authority Chairman I. Charles Mathews said an opening day of the Fourth of July weekend is based on a projection of 30 days of construction.

“If they need 30 more days to complete the work, the Yard Goats need a week or two to burn out. So do the math. So we’re thinking the end of June or the first week of July," Matthews said. "It feels that way now. Someone may tell me something different but that’s the way it feels to me as chairperson."

Hartford mayor Luke Bronin said his administration is continuing to consult with all of the parties involved in the project, assessing all of the options and will decide on a course soon.

“Obviously, we want to have baseball played as quickly as possible. We also want to make sure that we are protecting, above all, the interest of the Hartford taxpayers and making sure that any revised schedule is absolutely reliable,” he said.

The original "substantial completion" date for the stadium was in March, but then it was pushed back to May 17. 

“I personally would have loved to have been there for the city to hand the keys over to Josh (Yard Goats owner Josh Solomon) and see baseball as soon as possible, but it’s construction. Things happen on construction sites. There’s always the unknowns. They come up,” Jason Rudnick, manager of DoNo Hartford LLC, a company developed by developer Centerplan, said.

A day after the deadline, there is still a bit of work to do on the stadium. The bathrooms aren't complete, concessions stands need more work and this is still more of an active construction site than a baseball stadium, according to Matthews.

“Elevators are not in. Some stairwells are not in. Bathrooms are not completed. Some concessions are not completed. The luxury boxes are not completed. That’s a checklist. Again, Our goal is to complete all of those items and play baseball this year,” he said.

According to the agreement reached on Jan. 19, Centerplan owes the city $50,000 for the first late day and $15,000 for each day thereafter and Bronin said on Wednesday that it is "quite likely" that the city would seek those "liquidated damages."

Rudnick said the stadium is 95 to 97 percent done and he sees baseball being played at the stadium this season.

“There’s a baseball stadium here. The field is there. The seats are there," he said. "Railings are in. There are still items that need to be completed, but it’s not as if you can't see a baseball stadium. So for everybody to be standing around saying there’s no way this gets completed, there’s a stadium here.”

Josh Solomon, the owner of the team, said he's ready to keep his $2 million commitment to the team, but wants a firm start date.

“We have a whole host of people who are ready to start working. People who are dependent on these jobs and the delays are just horrible. It’s upsetting. And I’m hopeful that the city can let me know when the ballpark is going to be substantially complete,” Solomon said. 

Until then, the team is just waiting and playing at Dodd Stadium in Norwich for now.

“When the city says to me that the stadium is substantially complete, we will bring to the fans that minor league baseball has to offer, but until then all we can do is wait,” Solomon said. “I have been told so many different things that I just want a clear message on when the ballpark is going to be completed.”

City officials are meeting with the Eastern League, Yard Goats and Centerplan officials today as they work on a path forward.

"I hope that the city and the stadium authority are doing everything in their power to ensure we get to play baseball in this ballpark this summer,” Solomon said.

Glendowlyn Thames, a member of the Hartford City Council, said the administration, city council and the stadium need to get together to figure out what the options are to get the stadium done.

“That’s the most important thing at this point,” Thames said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Manchester Walmart Shoplifter Cuts Own Throat: Police


A shoplifter at Walmart in Manchester cut his own throat when he was confronted by store security, police said. 

Police said the 44-year-old man switched the pricetag for a vacuum for a lower cost and tried to buy the item at the store at 420 Buckland Hills Drive. 

When store security brought him into their office around 1:30 p.m., he allegedly reached into his pocket for a knife and slashed his neck while being questioned, Manchester Police said.

The man was quickly transported to Hartford Hospital.

His condition has not been released, but police said his injury is significant and potentially life-threatening.

There were no other immediately details available. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Airbus A320 Has 'Excellent Safety Record'


Despite the Airbus A320's recent involvement with several high-profile incidents in recent years, it is still one of the safest commercial jetliners in the world, NBC News reported.

One of the twin-engine planes takes off every 2.5 seconds somewhere on the planet. A workhorse jet, it is used by most U.S. airlines and more than 6,700 of them are in operation worldwide.

They include EgyptAir Flight MS804 — which vanished from radar and crashed early Thursday while carrying a total of 66 passengers and crew from Paris to Cairo. Airbus said the missing Airbus A320 was made in 2003 and delivered to Egyptair in 2008, adding that the aircraft had accumulated around 48,000 flight hours.

The incident came after an 18-month period in which there have been at least six fatal incidents involving the A320 or its variants.

Photo Credit: AP
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Firefighters Rescue Exhausted Dog from Sleeping Giant State Park


Firefighters rescued a dog after she collapsed on a trail at Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden on Wednesday night.

A man called for help at 7:23 p.m. and said Maria, his 7-year-old German Shepard-mix, collapsed while they were hiking and he could not get her off the trail alone.

Firefighters and the State of Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded and found the exhausted dog around a third of a mile in on the yellow trail.

Using a portable stretcher, they carried Maria to a DEEP ATV and got her out of the woods.

Police said no one was injured during the rescue.

The Hamden Fire Department has responded for 10 rescues at Sleeping Giant since the beginning of the year.

Photo Credit: Hamden Fire Department
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