Trial creates unlikely alliance of mothers

At the Dickie E. Anderson murder trial in New London Superior Court, the mother of homicide victim Renee Pellegrino has been chatting cordially with the mother of her daughter’s alleged killer.

“We’re both mothers,” says Pellegrino’s mother, Jean Russell of Quaker Hill.

Russell, who has waited 15 years to hear some of the details of her troubled daughter’s final hours, says she doesn’t know if Anderson is guilty or not, but she does know that his mother, Eileen Fletcher, is suffering. Fletcher says she does not believe her son is guilty. She is watching to ensure he has a fair trial.

Some of the evidence has been difficult for Russell to see and hear, including a photograph of her daughter’s body as it was discovered on Parkway South on June 25, 1997.

After a witness testified about Pellegrino riding in a car and waving at him at about 10 p.m. on the night before she was found dead, Russell was struck by the thought that her daughter was unaware that she would be dead within hours. Upcoming testimony about Pellegrino’s autopsy might also be disturbing, but Russell, who is 79, says she plans to listen.

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