Poland contends inmate shouldn't get death penalty
New Haven - The Polish government sought Wednesday to block a death penalty hearing for a former Trumbull man convicted of murder in the deaths of a three people, including a 9-year-old girl, because it considers him a dual citizen.
Poland's New York consulate general urged a judge in Bridgeport Superior Court to preclude the sentencing hearing for Richard Roszkowski and impose a life prison sentence.
"International law is exceptionally clear with regard to the circumstances in Mr. Roszkowski's case: An offender is entitled to benefit from the imposition of a lesser penalty," attorney Robert Berke wrote.
A Bridgeport jury found Roszkowski guilty in May 2009 of two counts of capital felony, three counts of murder and one count of criminal possession of a firearm for the Sept. 7, 2006, shooting deaths of 39-year-old Holly Flannery, of Bridgeport; her daughter, Kylie; and 38-year-old Thomas Gaudet, of Milford.
Roszkowski, whose parents were Polish, was sentenced to death in 2009, but a judge overturned it because of an error during jury instructions. A new penalty phase is set to begin Jan. 7.
Connecticut abolished the death penalty for murders committed after April 24, 2012, but it still applies to 10 men on death row and prosecutors are seeking it for Roszkowski.
"The imposition of the death penalty on Mr. Roszkowski by the state of Connecticut would be a clear violation of the United States' obligations under international law," Berke wrote. "In addition to violating international law, the unequal treatment of different people within the same state would also violate U.S. domestic law."
Bridgeport State's Attorney John Smriga said such moves to intervene are not allowed at the trial stage but permission to file them can occur if a death sentence is imposed and he appeals. He declined further comment.
Berke said such moves typically occur during appeals but he's not aware of a restriction against them at this stage of a case.
Roszkowski's lawyers did not deny he killed the victims but presented medical experts and death penalty opponents who testified that Roszkowski has brain damage caused by car accidents, hepatitis and drug use.
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