Five-year-old case may be headed for trial

The oldest case on the docket in the New London major crimes court may finally be headed for trial.

Richard K. Wallace, 59, was charged in August 2007 with stealing more than $125,000 from Dorothy DiNallo of Sprague. Wallace, represented by attorney Donald R. Beebe, is free on bond and has appeared in court dozens of times while his attorney has met with a prosecutor and judge in an attempt to resolve the case.

His early court appearances were before Judge Susan B. Handy, who was transferred to another judicial district. The case then went before Judge Patrick J. Clifford, who presided here for two years before he was transferred to New Haven. Clifford conducted a final pretrial hearing in the case when he returned Friday for several sentencings. From the bench, he said a resolution would not be possible, in part because Wallace has not repaid the victim. He said the case is on the firm trial list.

DiNallo's daughter Candace DiNallo, is unhappy with the way the case has been handled and has been in contact with victim advocates from the courts and the state Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

Beebe, Wallace's attorney, said Wallace has agreed to repay the money even though he is not guilty. He said a local business owner was going to loan the restitution money to Wallace, but DiNallo went into the store and complained.

"We're trying in a very bad economy to do something," Beebe said.

Judge Handy, who has since returned to New London, will schedule the case for trial. Beebe said Wallace is considering a "court trial," which means a panel of judges would decide the case rather than a jury.

— Karen Florin

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