Jurors heard the clink of handcuffs as they listened this morning to a recorded interview between murder suspect Dickie E. Anderson Jr. and state police detective Keith Hoyt.
Hoyt went to the Department of Adult Probation on June 1, 2010 to interview Anderson about the Michelle Comeau homicide. Two other detectives were there that day to arrest Anderson for the Renee Pellegrino murder. During the interview, Anderson initially said he did not know Comeau but later admitted he had seen her at his father’s Norwich apartment on the day she died.
At one point, Anderson asked, “Am I being charged with this?” and Hoyt told him he was not being charged with Comeau’s death.
Anderson, 41, of New London, was charged two months later with Comeau’s death and is on trial in New London Superior Court for both crimes.
Under cross-examination, defense attorney Christopher Duby asked Hoyt whether there was any place in an investigation for police to manipulate facts.
“I don’t like the word manipulate,” Hoyt responded. “We don’t try to manipulate anything.”
Duby then brought up an interview that Hoyt and another detective conducted with Mark Allen, a Massachusetts man who once lived with Anderson’s father. He asked Hoyt if he had told Allen that investigators “played with dead bodies and manipulate things.” When Hoyt said he didn’t remember saying that, Duby asked Judge Arthur C. Hadden to excuse the jury, then played a snippet of the interview.
On the recording, Hoyt said, “We walk into those crime scenes, we play with those bodies, we manipulate things…”
Prosecutor David J. Smith said the 10-second snippet was not in context and that he would like the jury to hear the entire portion of the interview. Judge Hadden said Smith should review the recording to find the relevant section before bringing it up to the jury.
With the jury back in the courtroom, Duby asked Hoyt if he in fact said that investigators played with dead bodies. Hoyt admitted he had said that.
“You said Dickie Anderson changed his story,” Duby continued. “He initially said he didn’t know Michelle Comeau, then he said he did. That gave you pause?”
“Yes,” Hoyt responded.
“You’re changing your story with respect to this (recorded statement about dead bodies)?" Duby asked. When the prosecutor objected to the question, Duby withdrew it, but quickly posed another. He asked Hoyt whether the comment about dead bodies was part of the police report of the interview with Allen. Hoyt read the interview and said it was not.
When the trial resumes this afternoon, the state is expected to call to the witness stand Arthur Moore, a former cellmate of Anderson’s at the Osborn Correctional Institution who was recruited to elicit information from Anderson about the murders.