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Evens St. Hilaire delivered a lengthy apology to murder victim Lynda Sanon's family members in New London Superior Court Friday after pleading guilty to fatally stabbing Sanon, his 25-year-old fiancée, in March 2011.
St. Hilaire, 33, will be sentenced Oct. 19 to up to 30 years in prison. At Friday morning's hearing, Judge Patrick J. Clifford allowed St. Hilaire to turn toward the audience and address the victim's mother and her cousin. St. Hilaire, crying and stuttering, said he thinks every day about Sanon and the young daughter she left behind.
"I loved Lynda," he said. "Everybody loved Lynda. It's something that should have never happened at all. I pray to God every night for forgiveness."
Sanon's mother wept quietly. She did not address the court but may be heard at the sentencing.
According to prosecutor David J. Smith, Sanon, who lived in Wallingford, went to St. Hilaire's apartment on Crystal Avenue in New London on March 19 to confront her because he may have given her a sexually transmitted disease. The discussion turned to another woman, Smith said, "and a knife was brought out."
St. Hilaire told police that Sanon had threatened to harm herself, had taken a knife from a dresser drawer and raised it. St. Hilaire said he took the knife and stabbed Sanon in the throat and neck because he felt threatened.
St. Hilaire fled the apartment and eventually called 911. He was captured while driving on Interstate 95.
St. Hilaire's attorney, Kevin C. Barrs, had negotiated a plea deal with the state in which St. Hilaire will receive a sentence of 30 years in prison. Barrs has the right to argue for a reduced prison term, but the least time St. Hilaire could receive is 25 years, which is the minimum sentence for murder.
St. Hilaire had worked as a dealer at Mohegan Sun. He is of Haitian descent and was accompanied in court by a Creole interpreter, but he had a good command of English and did not appear to require her services. If he were not a U.S. citizen, he would face deportation as a result of the conviction, but Barrs said St. Hilaire appears to have been a legal resident here.
Sanon worked as a medical assistant in a doctor's office and was set to graduate from Goodwin College in East Hartford with an associate's degree in health science. She was also of Haitian descent and had gone to the country after the 2010 earthquake to check on relatives and offer her medical services, according to her friends.