Accused Old Lyme burglar subpoenaed to testify in Calif. murder case

An Old Lyme man accused of stealing high-quality jewelry, antiques and guns in a series of residential burglaries is heading to California later this month to testify in a high-profile home invasion murder case.

Justin P. Weissinger, 25, was served with an interstate subpoena during an appearance Thursday morning in New London Superior Court. The court documents said that Weissinger, a former Marine who was stationed at Camp Pendleton, is a material witness in a case going to trial in Riverside County, Calif.

Judge Susan B. Handy granted the California authorities’ request to take Weissinger to California on April 15 and return him to Connecticut on May 8.

Weissinger was a Marine helicopter mechanic stationed at Camp Pendleton before he was dismissed from the service in 2009 because of drug use. At the upcoming trial in Murrieta, Calif., he is expected to testify about the murders of Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife, Quiana Jenkins Pietrzak, at the hands of four fellow Marines in October 2008.

Though Weissinger was incarcerated on a burglary charge when the murders took place, authorities said he testified at a 2009 hearing that he had carried out burglaries and home invasions with the accused Marines in the past and that they confided in him the details of the murders.

Weissinger testified that the four Marines went to the Pietzrak home in Winchester, Calif. He said the men told him they confronted the sergeant at gunpoint, tied up Pietzrak and his wife, ransacked the home and sexually assaulted the wife. Weissinger said the men shot the couple three times in the head as they kneeled over a couch. The men said they then set the house on fire.

Weissinger is accused of carrying out a string of burglaries with his younger brother, Karl, after returning to Connecticut and has been incarcerated since June 2012 while his cases are pending in Superior Court. At his court appearance Thursday, he was served with a new warrant charging him in connection with the theft of four guns that were found during a search of a Brush Hill Road property in Lyme last summer.

In June 2012, Weissinger allegedly led police on a chase from Route 151 in Montville to Cardinal Drive. Montville police said when they arrested Weissinger, he was in possession of marijuana, methadone pills, heroin and a stolen gun. The arrest led to a state police investigation at the Lyme home of William T. Koch, who is the boyfriend of Weissinger’s mother.

Two days after the chase, troopers executed a search-and-seizure warrant at the barn on the Koch property. Using a key they had seized from Weissinger after the car chase, they opened a gun locker in the barn and found a 12-gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle stolen from a burglary on Bashan Road in East Haddam and two air rifles stolen from a burglary on Hagen Road in Salem.

Handy set a bond of $150,000 on the new charges of second-degree larceny and criminal possession of a firearm. Weissinger is being held in lieu of a $550,100 bond at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center.

Prosecution of his Connecticut cases will resume when he returns from California in May.

k.florin@theday.com

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