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Judge: No Patriots Apparel in Court for Aaron Hernandez Trial


A judge has issued an order saying that no one wearing New England Patriots or National Football League apparel will be allowed in the courtroom for Aaron Hernandez's January murder trial.

[CLICK HERE to read the full order.]

"No person wearing clothing, or a button or other object attached to clothing, or carrying an object that displays any Patriots or other NFL team logo, football-related insignia, or words and/or photograph that relate in any way to this case will be permitted entry to the Fall River Justice Center during any phase of the trial," the Dec. 12 order from Judge E. Susan Garsh reads.

"Judge Garsh has said basically sort of said this is not a sporting event, this is not a matter of you bringing your favorite Patriots player's t-shirt," necn legal editor Randy Chapman said.

The order lays out additional protocol for public attendance and media coverage of the trial, including a ban on photographic or electronic recording devices for anyone who is not a member of the news media.

No photographs relating to the case are allowed in the courtroom either. In every single pre-trial court appearance, victim Odin Lloyd's family wears his photo on their clothing.

"I think what Judge Garsh is doing is trying to anticipate possible issues that could arise," Chapman said.

Chapman adds that despite Hernandez's star-power, Judge Garsh's rules are routine.

"This isn't particularly unique to this case. In every case, the stakes are high if you want to make sure the defendant has a fair trial," he said.

The judge's order says 20 seats will be allocated to members of the public, along with another 20 for members of the news media. There will also be seating set aside for the Hernandez's family or friends and Odin Lloyd's family or friends.

Hernandez is scheduled to go on trial on Jan. 9 for the killing of Lloyd, a semi-pro football player whose bullet-riddled body was found in an industrial park about a mile from Hernandez's North Attleborough home in June of 2013.

$2,000 Reward for Tips in Meriden Dog Abuse Case


When Snowflake, a 1-year-old Maltese/Poodle mix, was found near the Community Health Center in Meriden last week, she was malnourished, in distress and in pain because of an elastic band embedded in her snout.

After successful surgery, she is doing well, has a new home and police have quadrupled the reward amount for tips leading to the arrest of the person responsible for the animal abuse.

Since animal control and police shared Snowflake's story, many generous people donated money and covered the dog's medical expenses. When the GoFundMe page was set up to pay for Snowflake's medical bills, the goal was $2,500, but $3,675 in donations came in.

Police have also received several calls from people interested in adopting snowflake, but Snowflake has new home, where she will be loved and cared for, police said.

Meriden Police are continuing to investigate the animal cruelty case and the reward for tips that lead to an arrest has risen from $500 to $2,000.

If you have information, call Animal Control at (203) 235-4179.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police
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Crews Respond to House Fire in New Fairfield


Firefighters are responding to a house fire at 107 Shortwood Road in New Fairfield.

No additional information has been released.

Photo Credit: Ryan Ptakowski

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Looking Into Death of Bald Eagle


State officials are investigating the death of what appears to be a bald eagle in Rocky Hill on Monday.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection received a report of a dead eagle along Great Meadows Road in Rocky Hill at 10:13 a.m. Dec. 13 and said it appears that it was struck and killed by a car.

State Environmental Conservation police responded, retrieved the eagle and turned it over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which will determine the cause of death.

Should the Fish and Wildlife exam indicates the cause of death was anything to the contrary to the crash, they will conduct a more detailed exam and take any and all appropriate actions from there.

DEEP said it appears this was a bald eagle, a state-threatened species, but the officer involved could not confirm that.

Police Arrest Suspect in Madison Car Break-Ins


Madison police have arrested a 21-year-old East Haven man accused of stealing from several cars in Madison.

Zachary Scott Behler was arrested on Sunday after a Neck Road resident reported seeing someone trying to get into the homeowner’s car in the driveway.

Police said they found Behler as he arrived at his own vehicle, which was parked in the area, and found him in possession of several items he is suspected from stealing from vehicles.

Behler gave Madison Police a statement, indicating all of the vehicles he entered and the property he had taken, and was charged with eight counts of third-degree burglary and eight counts of sixth-degree larceny.

He was released on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in New Haven on Dec. 23.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Derby School Board Accepts Three Administrators' Resignations


The Derby Board of Education accepted three administrators' resignations after an executive session at a special meeting on Monday night.

Derby Middle School Principal Sean Morissey and Dean of Students Matthew Spar both resigned after being placed on administrative leave following a bomb threat Nov. 17 scrawled on a girls bathroom wall. Parents had voiced concerns about how the situation was handled and Arnold Frank stepped in as interim principal early December.

Then Derby High School Principal Greg Gaillard resigned abruptly last Tuesday, effective the following day, for personal reasons.

School officials have not released information on the causes of the administrators' departures, just citing personal reasons. It's unknown whether the three resignations are related.

Metro-North Declares Zero Tolerance for Employer Retaliation


Metro-North says it has implemented several changes after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration ruling for a 2011 incident in efforts to prevent retaliation against employees reporting violations.

"Since then, Metro-North has made considerable strides to create and promote a safety culture that encourages employees to report safety concerns and injuries without fear of retaliation," Metro-North said in a statement.

Metro-North is establishing a "confidential close call reporting system" to ensure employees aren't afraid of reporting safety issues. The railway is now also "requiring supervisor instruction in safety training that emphasizes the importance of the anti-retaliation protections" for employees under the Federal Rail Safety Act, according to Metro-North.

"The Metro-North of today has zero tolerance for discipline targeted against those reporting safety violations or injuries, and is expanding training for workers and supervisors on safety requirements and adherence to critical safety rules," Metro-North said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Tiffany Davis / The Feast

East Windsor Investigate Two Robberies


East Windsor police are investigating two robberies that happened on Monday night.

An armed man robbed East Windsor's Krauszers Food Store at 44 South Main Street and later a Dunkin Donuts at 17 North Road was robbed.

East Windsor police tweeted at 6:10 p.m. that the 44 South Main Street store was "just robbed" by a man brandishing a handgun and then about the Dunkin Donuts robbery just after 9:15 p.m.

While police said the initial report of the Dunkin Donuts robbery had a different suspect description and no gun was shown, police later said there were similarities. The Dunkin Donuts robber fled in a black SUV, police said.

State police and a K-9 unit are helping police investigate and look for a suspect in the Krauszers robbery.

It's unknown if the two robberies are connected, but police are investigating to see if they are. 

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police Department

City of Middletown Bills Wesleyan for Die-In Protest


The city of Middletown is billing Wesleyan University almost $7,500 after a die-in protest at the intersection of Washington and Main Streets last week that required increased police presence to keep the students safe.

Middletown shut down the busy intersection while as many as 300 Wesleyan students participated in the protest, many of whom did an 11-minute die-in, lying down in the intersection as a symbol of the 11 times Eric Garner said he couldn't breathe during the police chokehold incident in an arrest that led to his death. People held signs saying "Black Lives Matter." The demonstration was similar to protests around the country objecting to police brutality against people of color.

Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew said that the protest required calling in 46 additional police officers "to keep the demonstrators and the public safe." He sent Wesleyan President Michael Roth an invoice from the police department, billing the university for almost $7,493 total, including about $5,655 in overtime and nearly $1,838 in earned compensation time.

"I don't see other police departments charging people for protesting," one of the organizers said.

Other students agreed, but town residents had mixed feelings and some called it fair.

The mayor said the issue isn't the protest itself, it was the location at one of the busiest intersections in town, blocking traffic and emergency vehicles from passing through.

While the city offered to shut down secondary streets for the protest instead, organizers weren't interested, Drew said.

"They wanted to disrupt as much of the community's life as possible," Drew said.

McDonald's Owner Donates Over 1,000 Toys to Police Department Drive


Bag after bag filled with toys was unloaded from a storage container outside the McDonald’s in the Westville section of New Haven Monday and put into a van to bring to the New Haven Police Department. 

McDonald’s owner Joe Rodriguez has been donating toys for more than two decades, and this year, he made a personal donation of more than 1,000 new toys.
"We have a spirit of giving. As we approach Christmas, I just want to remind everyone that we should have an attitude of gratitude," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says this is his way to thank the community for keeping him in business in Westville and allowing him to employ members of the community.  It’s the community that will benefit from these donations.

The New Haven Police Department is getting ready upcoming toy drive collection dates.
"We’re going to have a toy drive on the 22nd and 23rd of this month.  It’s going to be held at 26 Charles Street, that’s the substation, the Dixwell substation.  This is all in remembrance for Mae Ola Reddick, who was very gracious and who provided for her community," said New Haven Police Lt. Sam Brown.
That’s why the New Haven Police Department and the MOR Foundation are teaming up to hand out toys at that toy drive, making sure each child gets a Christmas present.
"Children tell the truth, Mom we’re so happy to receive these toys because if we didn’t receive these toys, we would not have any," said Metashar Dillon, CEO of the KIEDC Foundation.
They're not only looking for toys.  They also want to make sure the kids are warm, and they're asking people to donate coats and scarves and mittens.
"When the children come, if they’re under-dressed, if they don’t have the coats and the scarves and the hats, we really need some donations for that.  We don’t want any child to leave the substation if they’re in need of a coat," said New Haven Police Lt. Patricia Helliger.

To donate winter clothing or toys, you can drop them off at the Charles Street substation or at New Haven Police Headquarters on Union Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Driver Charged With DUI, Manslaughter in Bolton Fatal Crash


A 20-year-old Bolton man is facing multiple charges including manslaughter with a motor vehicle and driving under the influence in a fatal crash from May.

Kyle Christensen was driving a 1989 Nissan 240SX on May 10 at about 12:58 a.m. when he crashed into a tree. His front seat passenger Cody Morra, of Bolton, 18, died of his injuries in the crash at the scene and Christensen sustained leg injuries. The passenger in the back seat who was under 17 had injuries that weren't life threatening.

Both Christensen and the second passenger, whose name was not released, were transported to Hartford Hospital.

Police obtained an arrest warrant on Dec. 12 at Rockville Superior Court. That same day, state police stopped a car on Clark Road near the Bolton Center Road intersection to cite it with having an illegal tint and no front plate. Police identified the driver as Christensen and saw that he had an active warrant for his arrest.

Police charged Christensen with second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, first-degree reckless endangerment with no intimidation intended, traveling unreasonably fast, reckless driving and failure to drive right.

He is being held on a $150,000 bond. Police said his court date will be Dec. 22 if he posts his bond.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

6 Dead, 1 Wounded & Gunman on Loose


A manhunt is underway for a former Marine reservist who prosecutors say went on a shooting spree early Monday killing six family members, including his ex-wife, and wounding a teen in three towns across Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

Bradley William Stone, 35 of Pennsburg, is considered armed and dangerous. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said police are actively searching for him and residents of one town are being asked to lock themselves indoors.

Stone stands 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs 195 lbs. He is believed to be clean-shaven, but earlier officials said he could have a red beard and close-cropped hair. He is known to use a cane or walker to assist in moving, Vetri Ferman said. He may also be wearing military fatigues — either green or brown.

The man served more than eight years in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and was deployed to Iraq, according to a Marine Corps spokesman. During his time, he earned several medals and his specialty was Artillery Meteorological Man — effectively a meteorologist that monitors weather conditions to ensure military fire accuracy.

Family friends and neighbors who know Stone said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and was discharged from the military because of it.

SWAT officers used military-grade vehicles and equipment to search Stone's home in the town of Pennsburg and the surrounding area. But so far have no definitive idea of where he may be.

"We actually recovered his vehicle and his personal cell phone so we do not have information about how he might be traveling," Vetri Ferman said. She asked for the public to keep an eye out for Stone and call 911 right away if they spot him.

A man, wearing fatigues and fitting Stone's description, attempted to carjack a driver at knifepoint in the Doylestown, Bucks County area shortly before 8 p.m., county dispatchers tell NBC10. The carjacking victim then fired shots at the man as he fled into the woods, officials said.

Police are searching in the area as a result. Officials have not confirmed whether it was Stone, but are taking precautions. They have locked down the Central Bucks YMCA as a result, YMCA staffers tell NBC10. Doylestown Police have also asked residents of the Stonington Farms Apartments to shelter-in-place during the search.

Philadelphia Police sent one of their tatical helicopters, equipped with an infrared camera, to the area to help, officials said.

Thus far, though, police have not found the man.

Among Stone's seven victims is his former wife, Nicole Hill Stone. She was shot inside her apartment in the Harleysville section of Lower Salford Township, just feet from their kids, around 4:55 a.m., police sources, prosecutors and neighbors tell NBC10.

“I heard the kids say, ‘Mommy no. We need my mom. I want my mom.’ And I heard [the suspect] say ‘Let’s go. We have to go now. We’re leaving,’” the woman’s next-door neighbor, at the Pheasant Run Apartments along 150 Main Street, said.

Moments after being jolted awake by the gunshots and hearing the yelling, the woman saw the children, believed to be 8-and 5-years-old, and a man running to a car parked outside.

“I opened the window and I asked him ‘Is everything OK?’ He just looked at me and said ‘She’s hurt pretty bad. We have to leave. She’s hurt.’ And he just got in the car and just left," she said.

When police arrived, they found the mother dead inside the second-floor apartment, police sources tell NBC10. Two bullet holes dotted the apartment's outer wall.

The children were located safe at the home of Stone's neighbor in Pennsburg, Vetri Ferman said.

Hill Stone was last on her ex-husband's hit list, the prosecutor said.

Stone shot the woman's mother, Jo Anne Koder, and her 75-year-old grandmother, Patricia Hill, inside their home along W. Fifth and Pierce Streets in Lansdale around 4:25 a.m., Vetri Ferman said.

The county's 911 call center received a hang up call shortly before the shooting, she said. Police spent three hours searching the area following the shooting, but turned up nothing.

A check shortly before 8 a.m. at the Souderton home of Hill Stone's sister, Trish Flick, turned up another gruesome scene.

Stone barged into Flick's Penn Avenue home around 3:30 a.m. and shot her, her husband Aaron, their 14-year-old daughter Nina and 17-year-old son Anthony, according to prosecutors.

SWAT officers surrounded the home after arriving and spent hours trying to make contact with a person they could see moving inside.

Around 11 a.m., officers fired a diversionary device into the home and, following the resulting boom, entered. They found all, but Anthony Flick dead. He was rushed to a waiting medical helicopter and flown to Thomas Jefferson Hospital's trauma center in Philadelphia, officials said.

Still, Stone was nowhere to be found.

The situation prompted homes to be evacuated and a shelter in place order to be activated in the town's school district. That was lifted around noon as SWAT officers left the Penn Avenue scene. That house remains under investigation as an active crime scene, Towamencin Township Police Chief Paul Dickinson said.

Those officers, driving a mine-resistant vehicle, then made their way to a fourth home, a duplex owned by Stone, along Main and W. 4th streets in Pennsburg. That home is about 20 miles from Souderton and is where additional SWAT officers had been stationed for hours.

Police broke down a garage door and the front door, fired several gas canisters inside and used a megaphone to say "Bradley, this is the police. Come out now."

After getting no response for hours, SWAT officers moved inside and found nothing. They then expanded their search to areas nearby.

Sources said officials have asked other county law enforcement agencies to send two-men patrol cars to assist in the search. Officials in neighboring Bucks County and the FBI confirmed they are also supporting the effort.

Because of the manhunt, the Upper Perkiomen School District, which serves Stone's town, announced its schools will be closed on Tuesday.

Officials have not released a motive for the shooting, but several of Nicole Hill's neighbors and friends said the woman feared for her life as the two went through a bitter custody dispute.

"She knew and [Bradley] would tell her that he was going to kill her," said friend Evan Weron. "She would go around to all the ladies in the neighborhood 'This man's going to kill me.' She felt threatened."

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: AP/Montgomery County District Attorney's Office
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Superintendent "Outraged" Over Teacher-Student Sex Case


A Stamford High School English teacher is on unpaid leave after pleading guilty to having sex with a student and two administrators accused of failing to report the suspected relationship aren't returning to the school.

Stamford Superintendent Winifred Hamilton told the media that she was "disappointed" and "outraged" by the situation Monday, announcing the district is commissioning an independent investigation and working to clean up after the scandal and move on.

"As Superintendent of Stamford Public Schools, I am disappointed and outraged about the situation that occurred at Stamford High School and the resulting erosion of public trust caused by the alleged actions of Stamford Public School employees," Hamilton said. "Stamford High School and our entire community have been shaken and the education process disrupted by these events."

Hamilton said that the district notified teacher, Danielle Watkins, that she is being placed on unpaid leave after her guilty plea on a felony second-degree sexual assault charge from July. District leadership also plans to notify the Commissioner of Education about the situation and request the "revocation of her teaching license," Hamilton said.

Prosecutors say Principal Donna Valentine and Assistant Principal Roth Nordin were aware of that Watkins, 32, had a sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student, but didn't report it. Both were arrested in October and have since been granted accelerated rehabilitation in the case. They are both on administrative leave during the investigation.

Hamilton said that she has the authority to "involuntarily transfer administrators" and that it "is in the best interest of our community" that Principal Donna Valentine and Assistant Principal Roth Nordin don't return. However, she said that their "exact status" won't be determined until the investigation is over. 

Kathryn Emmett, the city of Stamford's director of legal affairs and corporation counsel, selected retired Judge Robert Holzberg from Pullman & Comley, LLC to lead the investigation with the assistance of attorneys Michael McKeon, Rachel Ginsberg and Steven Bonafonte from the firm's school law, employment law and white collar/investigations groups, respectively. The private firm will report to Emmett with updates.

"Once the investigation is complete, anyone who engaged in behavior that put children at risk will be dealt with accordingly," she said in a statement.

The investigators will examine the "nature and timing of the concerns that such a relationship was occurring," the level of suspicions school officials had about the relationship and whether staff, teachers, administrators, board members or Superintendent's office employees violated any state and federal laws about reporting the suspected teacher-student sexual relationship, Emmett said in a statement.

The investigation will likely take 60 to 75 days to complete and the report with the findings will be made available to the public, she said.

Stamford Mayor David Martin (D) said that the investigation is imperative in determining the facts and setting the truth apart from rumors and allegations.

Meanwhile, Stamford Board of Education  President Jackie Heftman said the board has "confidence" in Hamilton's "ability to guide the district through this difficult period" and that the board shares her same "outrage." The board will keep the public updated on any developments in the investigation, but no further information is available, she said.

"The findings of the independent investigation will give the superintendent the facts and information she needs to take immediate and appropriate action," Heftman said. " The anonymous whisperings of people in the shadows do not serve to advance our quest for the truth. The scope and transparency of the investigation should fulfill the desire that we all have to learn the truth."

Heftman turned the focus back to the students and said "the safety, well-being and education of our students" is a priority for the board.

"Let's not forget about the impact this is having on the students at Stamford High School," she said. "There was a heart wrenching letter to the editor in yesterday's newspaper bringing to light the lack of public support for the yearbook," Heftman said. "Step up and express your support for the students and educators by buying an ad."

Administrator Angela Thomas Graves was also placed on paid administrative leave due to a personnel matter, but the district has not disclosed the reasoning. She is not under investigation in the independent investigation at this time and it's unclear if her leave status is related. Police said she hasn't been charged with anything.

The alleged victim in the case is scheduled to return to the police department on Tuesday to iron out case details with detectives.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Charged With Manslaughter in Baby’s Death


A 22-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with the death of a 3-week-old baby girl.

Police responded to the emergency room at a local hospital on Dec. 5 after receiving word that a baby was unresponsive and had suspicious injuries.

The little girl was pronounced dead later on the day she was brought to the hospital and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled her death a homicide.

On Friday, police obtained an arrest warrant for Janell Campbell, 22, of 84 Winter Street in New Britain, charging her with one count of second-degree manslaughter and one count of risk of injury to children in connection with her suspected actions related to the death of the baby, police said.

Campbell was taken into custody at her home at 10 a.m. on Monday and is being held on a $250,000 court-set bond.

Police said the warrant is sealed and they have not released any additional information.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

Family Displaced After Meriden House Fire


Three family members were able to get out of their burning home without sustaining injuries after fire broke out at 116 Capitol Ave. in Meriden on Tuesday morning.

The fire was reported at 7:31 a.m. and all three occupants of the single-family home and their two dogs got out safely, officials said.

The fire was contained to the living room area at the front of the house, but there is considerable smoke and water damage, so the family has been displaced.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Armed Robbers Steal Cash, Cigarettes from Newington 7-Eleven


Police are investigating an armed robbery at a 7-Eleven in Newington early Tuesday morning.

At 1:46 a.m., police responded to the 7-Eleven at 461 New Britain Avenue to investigate the robbery and the clerk said two men pulled a handgun, stole cash and cigarettes, then ran off.

One man was described as 6-feet-2 with a medium build. He was wearing black clothing and covered his face with a blue bandana, police said.

The other man was described as stocky, 5-feet-8 and was wearing black clothing and had a black bandana covering his face.

The clerk was not hurt during the robbery.

Police have not located the robbers and ask anyone with information about the robbery to call Newington Police Officer Branzburg at (860) 666-8445.

Bridgeport Police to Provide Update on Fatal Crash


Bridgeport police will be providing an update this morning on a crash that killed a 51-year-old mother and injured her 11-year-old son.

Police said Evelyn Agyei, 51, died after a car hit her Subaru, which went off the road and hit a tree. Her son was injured, but survived.

A news conference will be held at 11 a.m. at police headquarters in Bridgeport.

Photo Credit: Submitted by Family

Rollover Crash on I-91 North in Windsor Causing Delays


Two cars have gone off the road on Interstate 91 North in Windsor and delays are building.

The crash happened in the area of exit 37 and one car rolled over.

Couple Hospitalized, Dog Missing After Monroe Fire


A couple is in the hospital after fire broke out at 322 Old Zoar Road in Monroe early this morning and their dog is missing.

Officials at the scene said the husband was in the basement of the home and suffered burns to his face. Both residents were able to get out, but the man’s wife suffered smoke inhalation and both have been taken to the hospital.

The fire destroyed the home and officials are investigating what caused it.

No firefighters were injured while battling the fire.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

15-Year-Old Hit by Car in Plainfield


A 15-year-old boy was transported to the emergency room after being struck by a car in Plainfield on Monday night.

Police said Tyler Daniels, of Moosup, was trying to cross South Main Street from Dance Works Dance Studio to the Cumberland Farms parking lot at 9:35 p.m. when he was struck.

Daniels did not use a cross walk and was wearing dark clothing when he was hit with the driver’s side mirror of a 2000 GMC K1500 traveling southbound on South Main Street, police said.

The driver contacted emergency services and told police he could not see Daniels because of the dark clothing.

Members of the Plainfield Police Department, Moosup Fire Department and American Legion Ambulance responded and Daniels was transported to Plainfield Backus Emergency Room.

His injuries are not life-threatening.

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