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The sixth and final defendant who had previously testified that he participated in the random and fatal attack on Matthew Chew in New London two years ago rejected Friday the state’s offer to plead guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter.
If Marquis Singleton, 19, had accepted the state’s offer, he would have been sentenced at a later date to 16 years in prison, suspended after eight years served followed by five years probation.
Singleton, who is charged with murder, now faces up to 60 years in prison.
Chew, 25, a well-liked artist, disc jockey and pizza cook, was assaulted and fatally stabbed on Oct. 29, 2010, as he walked home from his job at 2Wives Brick Oven Pizza.
New London Superior Court Judge Susan B. Handy asked Singleton if he understood what he was doing and if he wanted to take his case to trial.
Singleton responded, “Yes, Ma’am.”
Handy then questioned him again and wondered if he really understood how rejecting the state’s offer could affect his life.
“Mr. Singleton, that could really change your life if you are convicted. ... In all likelihood, you will die in jail,” Handy said.
Handy reminded Singleton that all the state would have to prove is that he participated in the discussion of the assault and that he was at the scene where Chew was killed.
Idris Elahi, 19, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced in May to 35 years in prison. The state then began making plea offers to the other defendants based on whether they cooperated with the police investigation and participated in a court hearing on the case.
Rahshad Perry and Matias Perry, both 19, have pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to 15-year prison sentences. Brian Rabell and Tyree Bundy, cooperating defendants, also pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to eight years in prison.
During a probable cause hearing for Elahi, Singleton testified that he participated in the assault. Handy said that the testimony could be used against him at trial.
According to court testimony, the six teens gathered at the home of Elahi, where they decided to go out and jump somebody at random. Two of the teens then decided that they would do something more serious.
The group headed downtown in search of a victim. The teens spotted Chew and then split up “in case he tried to run” when they attacked him, Singleton testified. Matias Perry asked Chew if he had a lighter and then hit him on the left side of the face when Chew reached into his pocket. Singleton said he then hit Chew on the right side of the face.
Then the rest of the teens joined in on the attack.
Singleton testified that he went home and started crying because “somebody got hurt.” He said he was unaware that Chew had died until Matias Perry called him the next morning and said, “We caught a body.”
Two nights later, on Halloween, the six defendants went trick-or-treating together on Montauk Avenue and talked about not saying anything about the attack, according to Singleton.
Handy gave Singleton until Thursday to reconsider. If he decides to continue to reject the state’s offer, his case will be placed on the trial list.
If he decides later on not to take his case to trial, she said the plea deal would involve more prison time.
“You need to think long and hard and use some common sense here,” Handy told Singleton.