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Brother of Late Prosecutor Promoted Prostitution: Cops


A judicial marshal, who is also the brother of a late state's attorney responsible for prosecuting several men now on death row, has been arrested, accused of promoting prostitution.

Police arrested Michael Connelly, 53, of Sharon Road in Waterbury, on a warrant last Tuesday and took him into custody at his home after an ongoing criminal investigation, state police said.

Connelly, who has been with the Judicial Marshal Service since 2000, is on administrative leave from the state judicial branch without pay, pending an investigation, according to a letter the personnel manager sent Connelly on Nov. 26. He was also ordered to turn over his badge, identification card, equipment, keys and any other Judicial Branch property requested.

His most recent assignment was with the Chief Judicial Marshal in Waterbury.

State police confirmed that Michael Connelly is the brother of the late John Connelly, a state’s attorney who successfully prosecuted cases against four of the men who are on death row, according to WNPR.

Michael Connelly was taken to Troop A in Southbury, where he was charged with third-degree promoting prostitution.

"Mike has been a trusted employee of the judicial department for 30 years. He's one of the most popular guys over at the courthouse. I know what he's been charged with but I'm not privy to any alleged evidence that supports this prosecution. Mike will be provided with a vigorous defense," his attorney, Lenny Crone, said in a statement.

Someone charged with third-degree promoting prostitution is accused of knowingly advancing or profiting from prostitution.

Connelly was released on a $25,000 court-set bond and is due in court in Waterbury on Dec. 10.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Sorry for Kicking Mom With Baby


An 18-year-old accused of jump-kicking in a mother in the back as she carried a baby is in police custody Tuesday, police said.

Police tracked down Alonzo Brown less than a day after authorities released video showing a suspect kicking Odila Orozco as she carried laundry bags on East Tremont Avenue with her 2-month-old son strapped to her chest on Friday.

Both the mother and the baby fell to the ground after the kick, and the suspect allegedly ran off with the woman's cell phone.

Brown was charged with robbery, attempted robbery, several counts of assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child, among other charges. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday. 

As he was being driven away in a police cruiser Brown claimed he didn't know Orozco was holding a baby. 

"I'm sorry to the lady and the baby," he said. 

Orozco and her son Jordan were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries and released.

The 24-year-old victim told NBC 4 New York she was walking home from the laundromat in West Farms last Friday afternoon when she was attacked. She said Tuesday that she didn't accept his apology, and that she doesn't believe he didn't see her baby because they made eye contact as they walked by each other. 

She told NBC 4 New York through a translator: "He deserves to pay for what he did, he has probably hurt some other people in the past. He didn't think of [the] baby so he deserves what he's going to get." 

"He didn't think like a man, he acted like a coward," she said. "He has to pay for what he did." 

Brown, who has 11 prior arrests, was ordered jailed on $25,000 bond, and is scheduled to return to court Dec. 8. He has other court dates for two other outstanding cases. 

-- Pei-Sze Cheng contributed to this report. 

"My Neighbors' Poop Is in My House"


A Redwood City home was flooded with sewage water after a street drain got clogged with debris during a heavy storm that hit the Bay Area on Tuesday.

"It's a little gross to think my neighbors' poop is in my house," said Adrienne Herro, who was making school lunches for her children when she noticed the dirty water creeping into her home.

"It was about two inches of water, and it just kept rising," she said.

Herro was not referring to rain water. Sewage water, human waste and even toilet paper flooded her home.

Herro said the flooding has happened before when the drain near the streets gets clogged with debris. City crews spent the morning clearing the pipe.

Redwood City sanitation crews will cover the cost of cleaning the mess. The city's public works department said the pipe in the neighborhood is likely more than 50 years old and will soon replace the damaged section.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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Trio Beat Homeless Man to Death


Disturbing new video shows a deadly attack on a homeless man in San Francisco last month that police call one of the most horrifying they've ever seen.

Police are asking the public for help identifying the three young men seen in the clip minutes before they kicked and beat to death Tai Lam, a 67-year-old homeless man.

Lam was a 100-pound man who needed crutches to walk, and he appeared to have been sleeping when the trio first approached him, investigators said. There is no indication he provoked the three suspects, they said.

Veteran officers who said they’ve "seen it all" said this attack was bad.

"I have 25 years in, and this is a really awful attack, probably one of the worst I've ever seen,” San Francisco Police Sgt. John Cagney said. “I think all of us that are investigating this were personally affected by it."

The video surveillance footage recorded the suspects attacking Lam twice on Nov. 23, between 11 p.m. and midnight, in the 100 block of Sutter Street, according to San Francisco police Lt. Toney Chaplin.

Police said they think the men traveled on BART or Muni the night of the assault and predict they will find even more surveillance video of the trio.

Lam's body wasn't found until about 7 a.m. Nov. 24, according to police. The victim's family has been notified and asked for privacy, Cagney said.

Anyone with information can contact Cagney at (415) 734-3831 or may do so via the anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or send a tip by text message to TIP411 with "SFPD" in the message.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: SFPD
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Commuters Seek Answers About CTfastrak


Promoters of the CTfastrak busway are holding open house events in December and January to explain their system

Some commuters in Hartford say the information is much needed.

"I think there's some confusion," said Barbara Avallone, as she waited for the 923 home to Bristol. "Some of us think that it's gonna be just not really much of a difference. But others are thinking that it's gonna stop at New Britain, and then we're gonna have to do more stops."

Down Pearl Street Craig Malone stood waiting for the same bus.

"I'm on an express bus. I hope it doesn't mean I'm gonna have to make eleven stops in nine miles on my way to Hartford," he said, "And then, am I gonna have to drive from Bristol to New Britain to get on my bus?"

The busway promoters say that will not be the case. Express buses from Plainville and Southington will go on the busway instead of I-84 but they'll still be express buses, and commuters won't have to change in New Britain.

Snow Falling in Parts of Connecticut


Some parts of the state will see a wintry mix Tuesday night, but the impact on travel is expected to be limited because temperatures will be above freezing and any snow will fall lightly.

The hills north and west of Hartford may see some snow glaze those ares as a minor storm system is forecasted to pass through Connecticut as milder air mixes with colder air, according to NBC Connecticut First Alert Chief Meteorologist Brad Field. The snow might stick in the hills and create slippery travel.

Clouds increased throughout today and temperatures were around 25 degrees colder than yesterday, with highs between 35 and 41 degrees.

Winter weather advisories are in effect for the northern half of Litchfield county from 4 p.m. on Tuesday to 6 a.m. on Wednesday and for Hartford County.

Any precipitation will change to a mixture of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain during the night.

Temperatures will rise overnight and on tomorrow morning, and precipitation will wind down quickly, so expect wet conditions for the morning drive.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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MGH Treating Possible Ebola Patient


A patient who may have the Ebola virus is being tested and treated at Massachusetts General Hospital, the hospital announced Tuesday night.

The patient is in a "specially prepared area" of the hospital and is being tested, hospital officials said in a memo to staff on the MGH website. The patient is being tested for Ebola because he or she meets the CDC's definition of "a person under investigation for the Ebola virus," according to Dr. Paul Biddinger, director of emergency preparedness at MGH.

The patient, who is described as being in stable condition and "good spirits," was admitted to the hospital for evaluation at 2 p.m. after being monitored by the Boston Public Health Comission, the hospital said. Initial tests could come back late Tuesday night, Dr. Biddinger said; however, officials may need multiple tests to confirm either a positive or negative diagnosis.

No diagnosis of Ebola has yet been confirmed, nor have doctors said why they suspect Ebola. There is also no word on the patient's age, gender, where he or she is from or travel history.

MGH officials say they're focused on the health and safety of everyone in the hospital and that they're following CDC recommendations as a precaution, although there has been no confirmed diagnosis.

Dr. Biddinger also added that the hospital is "extremely confident" in its ability to handle whatever outcome and that staff, patients and hospital visitors are safe.

"We have full confidence in our departments and healthcare organizations that we can keep Boston residents and visitors safe and healthy," Boston Public Health Commission said in a statement.

The announcement of the possible Ebola patient at MGH came just hours after President Barack Obama delivered an upbeat update on the nation's fight against the deadly virus domestically and in West Africa, where an outbreak has killed thousands.

Obama called attention to the administration's announcement Tuesday that it has set up a network of 35 hospitals across the country to deal with Ebola patients. It also said that the number of labs that can test for Ebola has increased from 13 in 13 states in August to 42 labs in 36 states.

Stay with NECN as this story develops. 

Photo Credit: Telemundo Boston

Friendly's Closes Permanently in Unionville


The Friendly's in the downtown Unionville section of Farmington has closed its doors for good.

A sign on the door over Thanksgiving weekend alerted patrons that the location was "currently closed," adding that "Avon and Bristol locations are open."

The Unionville location at 1835 Farmington Avenue has closed permanently in advance of its expiring lease, Ryan Levasseur, of Regan Communications Group representing Friendly's, confirmed.

"On Wednesday, November 26, 2014, Friendly’s Ice Cream, LLC. announced the closing of its Friendly’s location at 1835 Farmington Avenue in Unionville, Connecticut, in anticipation of the expiration of its lease," Friendly's said in a statement. "The restaurant will cease operations, effective immediately."

Friendly's has no plans to close any of its other remaining Connecticut locations at this time, Levasseur said.

It's unknown whether another business is slated to move into the location.

The Friendly's in Unionville holds sentimental value for people in the area. It has long been a local hangout in town, with several families going for food or ice cream after various school concerts and events. The restaurant was remodeled in 1998, according to town property records, and is one of the first businesses you see when you drive into the Stop & Shop plaza off Route 4 in Unionville.

The national franchise has been around since 1935, according to the Friendly's website. Friendly's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of 2011, closing 63 under-performing restaurants that year, including seven in Connecticut. The company closed nine more in the state in January of 2012.

The next closest Friendly's restaurants are in Avon, Bristol, Newington, Wethersfield and Hartford. 

Farmington Police Address Burglaries in Town


Police predict the town will suffer its usual amount of 40 to 50 burglaries this year and are meeting with resident Thursday night to talk about it.

One neighborhood known as the Highlands of Route 4 in town has experienced several burglaries and residents from that area are expected to attend the meeting.

Farmington resident Paulette Reandeau said she locks her doors and checks two or three times.

"I'm a very trusting person, but my doors are locked now," another resident Pat Robotham said.

Police investigate all burglary reports in town, but Farmington police also said that there are things residents can do to prevent burglaries. When you go away, Lt. Colin Ryan, spokesman for the Farmington police, said to make it look like someone's home because most burglars don't want a confrontation with anyone.

"Make arrangements with a trusted neighbor maybe to keep an eye on your house, keep some lights on, have some lights on a timer - make it look like it's not unoccupied, that's really the most simple way to handle it," Ryan said.

Community policing officers will give more burglary prevention tips at a meeting Thursday night at the Farmington senior center at 321 New Britain Ave.

Thousands Sign Up for Drive Only Knowledge Test: DMV


More than 6,500 undocumented Connecticut residents have signed up online for Drive Only knowledge test appointments since the state Department of Motor Vehicles launched a program Monday "to allow them to obtain a driver's license," according to the DMV.

That's the highest volume of appointments made for the test in a day, according to the DMV. In 2013, the legislature approved the program allowing "undocumented individuals who are 16 and older and cannot establish their legal presence in the United States" to apply for a "Drive Only license."

The license can't be used for state or federal identification, however.

Norwalk and Danbury time slots are already full for the first couple months and appointment slots are going quickly in other towns, according to the DMV. The DMV website had 30,000 page views on the first day of sign-ups.

No walk-ins are allowed and appointments can only be made online through a system established in 2012 to "manage the learner's permit process," according to the DMV.

Despite the large number of appointments, only 600 people have downloaded the practice test app on iPhones, iPads and Android phones to help people study, the DMV said. The test has more than 60 questions from three versions of the test for people to practice. The app also has a quiz for parents helping teen drivers who need to take the test.

"Slots are filling fast and people need to know they must study for this test or face a longer wait to obtain a license,” DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey said in a statement. “The comparison of numbers between appointments and downloads of the app tells us that applicants need to understand that this app can help them. Without good preparation, which includes studying the driver’s manual and using this app, they could fail the test.... A failure could mean a months-long process to get an appointment and then another three-month waiting period while they practice driving with a learner’s permit. They might want to avoid that delay."

In order to obtain a Drive Only license, individuals must apply for a learner's permit and have it for at least three months, longer for 16- and 17-year-olds, before obtaining a license so they can practice with a licensed driver in preparation for the road skills test, the DMV said.

The app and driver's manual are free study materials for applicants, with versions in English and Spanish available for download. There is an audio version of the manual in English and one in Spanish will soon be available.

Additional requirements for young teen drivers are available at ct.gov/dmv/teens

Police Issue Silver Alert for Missing Enfield 10-Year-Old


Police are looking for a missing 10-year-old in Enfield and have issued a Silver Alert.

Neko Mills, 10, was reported missing on Tuesday. Police said he is an endangered runaway who has run away from home a few times before.

He is described as a white male with blonde hair and blue eyes who stands 5 feet tall and weighs 99 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, jeans, brown work boots and a black and red hat.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Enfield department at 860-763-6400.

Families Concerned About Sex Offenders in Halfway House


Eleven-year-old Lohanny Baez says ever since discovering three sex offenders live in one house on her street she doesn't feel safe going out alone.

"I go to the bus stop every day, and I'm scared to stand there by myself. So I have to wait for my friends," Baez said.

In an effort to address concerns, the Norwich Neighborhood Watch held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the halfway house on Broad Street. The gathering was emotional at times as many neighbors asked the police as well as city and state officials what they need to do to have the situation go away.

Vincent Cardente and his family live across the street from the halfway house and says he doesn't believe it's appropriate to have them there.

"I don't understand how you put them right on the corner for a bus stop for two to three different buses," said Cardente.

On the sex offender registry there are 19 offenders living within a half mile radius. The Department of Corrections says they placed two offenders inside the Broad Street home. The other offender at the house is under the care of the Probation Department. The DOC did not attend Tuesday's meeting but did recently speak with city leaders and say it was a productive and informative meeting with a positive outcome. They add that the offenders are intensely supervised.

Not all neighbors are against the halfway house with some saying that the offenders have already served their time.

"The bottom line is we can't put them in a boat and send them somewhere because we just don't like our neighbors," said Kim O'Brien.

State senators who attended the meeting say they're looking at legislative changes including guidelines for placement of halfway houses and providing more information on the sex offender registry.

City leaders say they plan to have quarterly meetings with DOC to further open the lines of communication

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Pedestrian Struck and Killed By Truck on I-84


A female pedestrian was struck and killed by a truck on Interstate 84 west in Danbury Tuesday evening, according to state police.

The accident happened near exit 6 and state police arrived on scene shortly after 8 p.m.

The truck driver who ran into the woman stopped at the scene.

State police are investigating the fatal crash.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Two Men Plead Guilty in Check Fraud Ring


Two men pleaded guilty to fraud in Hartford federal court.

Benji Carr, also known as Rodrick Lawson Davis, 39, of New Haven and North Carolina, and Lanston Xavier Neal, 37, of Charlotte, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to fraud charges Monday and Tuesday.

The men, along with Brandon Key Bentley, are suspected of running a stolen checks ring, hiring people to cash altered checks at banks, according to Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut. The men were able to cash 37 of 39 fraudulent checks amounting to $104,070, she said in a news release.

Bentley, 31, of New Haven, pleaded guilty to bank fraud in September.

All three are scheduled to be sentenced in February of next year., facing a maximum of 30 years  and $1 million in fines.

The United States Postal Inspection Service, Connecticut Financial Fraud Task Force and Branford, Madison, Middlebury, Milford, New Britain, New Haven, New Milford, North Branford, Waterbury, Woodbridge and Southbury police investigated the case.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Shootings May Stem From Youngsters' Feud: Cops


At least one person was shot in three shooting incidents in Stamford over the span of two days.

The shootings may stem from a "simmering rivalry" between young people living in the Spruce Street and Myano and Connecticut Avenue areas.

Police responded to 80 Spruce Street after hearing reports of shots fired around 11:03 p.m. on Monday. A bullet went through the vestibule at the address and hit two vehicles, police said. No witnesses or victims were located.

Police also responded to shots fired at 127 Myano Lane at about 12:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Police learned seven rounds were fired into the home, "nearly missing" a 17-year-old home, police said. Police found four .380 shell casings in the backyard. Witnesses told police that four people wearing dark jackets and hooded sweatshirts were observed fleeing on foot toward the back of Westover School in Stamford.

The address was targeted a separate time with gunshots fired into the building as residents slept on March 29, police said.

Stamford police also responded to reports of someone shot near 121 Connecticut Avenue at 2:20 p.m. on Tuesday. A 21-year-old found there had been grazed by a bullet on the top of his head at 127 Myano Lane as he ducked to avoid the gunfire. His injuries are non-life-threatening, police said.

He said that someone wearing a black jacket and grey hooded sweatshirt fired at him from the sidewalk near the Connecticut Avenue building nearby. Stamford police found two bullets and .380 shell casings there. Witnesses told police the shooter fled on Connecticut Avenue in the southbound direction.

Police believe the shootings are due to a feud between youngsters in the neighborhoods.

Police ask anyone with information to contact detectives at 203:911-4417.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cherry Brook Road Closed in Canton


Cherry Brook Road in Canton is closed near Case Road because power lines are down and melted part of the roadway.

Officials at the scene said the road will be closed for much of the day.

Connecticut Light and Power is responding to fix the problem and detours have been set up.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Changes Underway at Bradley Airport


Some changes are underway at Bradley Airport as demolition begins on Terminal B today, and that could cause delays for travelers.

Beginning today, the upper level roadway for departures will be permanently closed just beyond Terminal A and the Sheraton hotel so S&R Corporation, based in Lowell, Massachusetts, can demolish the existing viaduct roadway in front of the closed Terminal B.

The right lane of the lower level arrivals roadway immediately after Terminal A will also be closed, with traffic being shifted to the left lanes.

Construction signs will be up and lanes will be marked to show the new traffic pattern and guide people traveling through.

This is part of the first phase of construction to redirect traffic patterns at the airport.

Once Terminal B comes down, there will be place to expand in the future and the land could be used for rental cars and a place for an airport shuttle to drop off passengers. There is also a possibility of adding new airlines with trans-Atlantic flights.

Between Dec. 8 and Dec. 11, the entire upper roadway will be closed to all traffic from 7:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. and all traffic will be directed to the lower roadway.

More information is posted on the Bradley International Airport website.

Photo Credit: WVIT
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1 Hospitalized After Car Hits Building in Hartford


One person was injured when a car carrying three people crashed into a lumber wholesale company on Chestnut Street in Hartford around 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

Stephanie Diaz was in the back seat of the car when the crash happened and said the brakes gave out when her friend drove around the curb, so her husband tried to grab the wheel and help.

Diaz said she is grateful to be alive and thankful for a fence that they struck, which reduced the impact when they hit the building.

Diaz's husband was hurt and taken to Hartford Hospital, she said.

Diaz and the driver suffered minor injuries.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Thousands Rally on New Haven Green for Better Education


Thousands of parents, educators, students and community leaders are rallying outside in the rain on the New Haven Green on Wednesday morning to call for education reform and share the message that every child in the state matters and deserves a good education.

The rally is being held after a report the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement released last month
stating that nearly 40,000 students across the state are in failing schools and 90 percent of those children are low-income and children of color.

"These children have been relegated to some of the worse schools in the state. The time has come for us to put those children first," Dr. Steve Perry, principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, said during the rally. http://www.capitalprep.org/

The Coalition For Every Child and advocates are asking for improvements to low-performing schools and an exceptional education for all Connecticut children.

"We have a great state. They do a good job, but we want more," she said. Cynthia Sherard, a New Haven parent, said.

The coalition also found that certain children lack access to quality options and Perry said that has to change.

"We need to expand educational options, which means that if a child goes to a failed school, they need to have access to a quality, other school," Perry said.

Learn more about at ForEveryChildCT.org http://www.foreverychildct.org/

Fourth Suspect in Milford Home Invasion Arrested


Milford police have arrested the fourth suspect in a violent October home invasion that sent one man to the hospital.

Police said a man and woman were home at 26 Kenmore Lane when four men they were acquainted with broke in and assaulted them, police said.

The male victim suffered several broken bones and was treated at a local hospital. The intruders also assaulted the female victim and choked her, but she didn’t need medical attention, police said.

Police said they received the complaint on Oct. 26. On Dec. 2, police took Joseph Fox, 26, of Milford, into custody.

Police had already arrested Zachary Labbe, 23, and Michael Fox, 21, both of Milford, on Halloween, and Thomas Hart, 23, a resident of the home, was arrested on Nov. 5.

Police said there was an outstanding arrest warrant for Joseph Fox, accusing him of violating his court-appointed probation.

He was charged with home invasion, first-degree assault, third-degree strangulation, third-degree assault, interfering with an emergency call and conspiracy for the charges.

Bond was set at $300,000.

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