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Sleepwalking defense explored in ‘bizarre’ Mohegan Sun casino robbery case

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published June 07. 2012 12:00PM   Updated June 08. 2012 12:32AM

The attorney for a Bridgeport man accused of attempting to snatch the purse of an elderly casino patron said his client may have been sleepwalking.

Winston Riley, 27, of Bridgeport was arrested March 18 after attempting to rob an 81-year-old woman with a knife in a parking garage at Mohegan Sun casino. The woman resisted, and Riley fled, according to state police. He was caught a short time later.

His attorney, Nicholas D’Amato, told Judge Patrick J. Clifford and prosecutor Stephen M. Carney that he is pursuing a medical defense. He said his client has a history of sleepwalking and that he is checking into his medical records.

Since the incident, Riley had been held in lieu of $100,000 on six charges, including first-degree robbery and assault on an elderly victim. In arguing for a bond reduction Wednesday in New London Superior Court, D’Amato mentioned the potential “medical defense” and noted his client has no previous criminal history.

“If it pans out to be credible, this is a very strong defense,” D’Amato said on the record. “There’s no evidence he was there to commit a crime. He had visited the casino before without incident.”

When a state’s attorney noted that Riley confessed to the crime when he was arrested, D’Amato said it is not certain Riley “was in a full state of awareness when he made these statements.”

Calling the case “bizarre,” Judge Patrick J. Clifford reduced the bond to $85,000 and set several conditions should Riley make the bond, including staying out of the casino and having no contact with the victim. Riley’s next court date is July 17.

— Karen Florin

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