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Irene R. Reynolds, who has been held in prison for two years since the Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit charged her with murdering her mother in 1993, will go on trial later this month in New London Superior Court.
Defense attorney Linda J. Sullivan filed a speedy trial motion on Monday. Judge Susan B. Handy granted the motion on Tuesday, compelling the state to begin presenting evidence within 30 days.
Jury selection will begin Oct. 29 before Judge Arthur C. Hadden, Handy said. The state will begin presenting evidence on Nov. 26. State’s Attorney Michael L. Regan is prosecuting the case.
Reynolds has rejected an offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter in exchange for a sentence of 20 years, suspended after 10 years served and five years probation. Had she accepted the offer, her attorney would have had the right to argue for a shorter prison term at her sentencing.
Bertha Reynolds, 60, was found at the bottom of a basement staircase in her home at 84 Laurel Hill Ave., Norwich, on July 9, 1993. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said she had died of blunt head trauma and ligature strangulation.
The case went unsolved for 17 years until the cold case unit obtained a videotaped statement from a former friend of Irene Reynolds. The woman, Kim Stone, told police she saw Reynolds attack her mother after the two fought about money. Reynolds had been adopted by Jim and Bertha Reynolds as an infant.
Stone will be a key witness at the upcoming trial, and Reynolds’ attorney is expected to attempt to discredit her testimony. Sullivan has requested that the trial judge review information about counseling that Stone was undergoing at the time of the crime.
According to the arrest warrant in the case, Stone was interviewed by police on several occasions throughout the years, each time revealing more information. Stone told police that she didn’t fully disclose what she had witnessed because she did not want to get in trouble for not stopping the attack.