New London murder case continued for decision on hearing

A New London man who told police he was possessed by an evil presence when he fatally attacked his roommate on Christmas morning will decide next month whether he wants a hearing to prove there is enough evidence to prosecute him for murder.

Sebastian Tzampop, 30, is accused of killing 39-year-old restaurant worker Antonio Chajon after a night of drinking at their apartment at 15 Hope St. The two men came from the same village in Guatemala and lived in the apartment with other roommates.

Tzampop, who has been held in lieu of $1 million at the Northern Correctional Institution, appeared in New London Superior Court. A family member watched from the gallery as he emerged from the lockup area in an orange prison jumpsuit and stood between his attorney, Erica Rodriguez, and a Spanish interpreter. Rodriguez told the court she needs time to review the evidence to determine if the defense will opt for a probable cause hearing and waived the 60-day time limit. In Connecticut, murder defendants have the right to a hearing within 60 days of their arrest. Judge Hillary B. Strackbein continued the case to March 10.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, city police were called to the second-floor apartment of the multifamily home shortly before 11 a.m. on Christmas Day for a report of a dead body. They found Chajon’s battered body on his bedroom floor, and the room was in disarray as if a struggle had occurred. The medical examiner ruled that Chajon died of neck compression with blunt injuries of the head and trunk.

Tzampop told police he felt “overtaken” by an evil spirit when he saw Chajon asleep on his bed and for no apparent reason punched him twice in the face and head, pulled him off the bed onto the floor and started kicking him, police said. The next thing Tzampop said he remembered was being woken up in bed by another roommate who had discovered Chajon’s body.

At the time of his arrest, Tzampop had two drunken driving cases, from May and September 2013, pending in New London Superior Court. Before his death, Chajon worked at the Jasmine Thai Restaurant on Bank Street for five years.

— Karen Florin

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