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Witness testifies about 2009 death after dispute

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published September 25. 2012 2:00PM   Updated September 26. 2012 7:28PM

Jennifer L. Sanford intended to date Stephen Germano only until her preferred boyfriend, Kevin Bialowas, was released from a six-month prison stint he was serving for tax evasion.

"I told him about Stephen, but I said, 'The day you come home, I'm going to be with you,'" Sanford testified Tuesday in New London Superior Court.

Sanford said she told Germano, "You gotta go" after Bialowas got out of a halfway house and arrived at her family home in Baltic on July 14, 2009.

But Germano wasn't that easy to shake, and by the end of the day, Bialowas had allegedly run him over with his pickup truck at the intersection of Elm Avenue and East Town Street in Norwich.

Germano, 33, died six days later of blunt traumatic injuries.

Bialowas, charged with murder and held in lieu of $1 million bond, has pleaded not guilty and opted for a trial. In taking his case before a jury, he turned down an offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence.

On the second day of his trial, prosecutor Stephen M. Carney elicited testimony from Sanford, a 29-year-old brunette, about her relationships with both men. Sanford said she has been drug-free since 2010 but at one time had a 60-bag-a-day heroin habit. She said she would use a needle to shoot 10 to 15 bags of the drug at a time.

Sanford testified that after Bialowas went to prison, she told him she needed Germano only until he was released. She also told Bialowas how Germano pimped her out at a local casino.

"I told him Stephen would take me to the casino to find dates," she said. "I would just walk around and people would come up to me and say, 'Are you a working girl?'"

Once she was in a hotel room with a customer, Germano would call her to ask if she was safe and would stay at the gaming tables until she was finished, she said. She would give the money directly to Germano, she said, and he would use it to buy alcohol and heroin.

Sometimes, she said, Germano answered her cellphone when Bialowas called. She said Germano told Bialowas, "Come on, Kevin, let's share her. I'll have her on the weekends and you have her Monday to Friday."

Bialowas told Sanford, "I'm going to kill him (Germano) when I get out," Sanford testified. He didn't mean it, she said.

Sanford testified that Germano left her family home when Bialowas turned up on that July day, but he quickly reappeared. She said that she and Bialowas, on their way to a barber shop, saw Germano's truck as soon as they left the driveway. She said they were driving toward Norwich in Bialowas' white Ford F-150 pickup when Germano began tailgating them.

She said Germano called Bialowas' cellphone and demanded she get out of the truck. She refused. She said Bialowas hit a telephone pole with his truck and kept driving. She said they came to a stop sign on the Norwichtown Green and Germano pulled in front of Bialowas' truck, got out of his truck and stood in the middle of the street, waving his arms and saying, "Come on. Come on."

Bialowas backed up about 20 feet, Sanford said, and there was no way to get away unless he continued driving in reverse or pulled into a driveway. She said Bialowas shifted into drive and swore.

"He wanted to go around him, and Stephen didn't move," Sanford testified.

As Bialowas drove forward, Germano jumped on the hood of the pickup truck instead of moving out of the way, Sanford said. His hands and face were pressed up against the windshield.

"Kevin jerked the wheel and he (Germano) fell off," she said. Sanford said she told Bialowas to stop, but he kept driving. She said he told her he was on parole and had no driver's license, registration or insurance.

"He said, 'I'm not going to jail for this,'" Sanford testified.

She said she and Bialowas parked the damaged pickup truck at Bialowas' brother's shop in Bozrah and caught a ride with a friend. Sanford testified that at one point, she contemplated taking the blame for the accident. The next day, after Bialowas was detained for questioning during a visit with his parole officer, Sanford said she went to Norwich police headquarters and told detectives the entire story.

Sanford is expected to resume the witness stand and undergo cross-examination by Bialowas' attorney, John E. Franckling, when the trial continues today.

k.florin@theday.com

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