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David J. Grant, accused of fatally shooting a Norwich woman and wounding her niece at the Mai Thai Restaurant and Bar in Norwich in June 2012, has rejected an offer from the state to plead guilty in exchange for a 40-year prison sentence.
"He'd like to go to trial," said his attorney, Sebastian O. DeSantis, during Grant's appearance Tuesday in New London Superior Court.
Grant, 34, has been held in lieu of a $2.5 million bond since he was arrested in Baltimore about six months after the shooting. He is charged with murder, first-degree assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and illegal possession of a pistol.
A one-time Norwich resident, Grant, who is known as "D," has an artificial eye as a result of being shot in the face on Talman Street in November 2010. According to Norwich police, he was attempting to shoot a man who had shot at a friend of his when he fatally shot Richardson, 45, and shot her niece, Crystal Roderick, in the thigh.
Richardson's family members had gathered at the Mai Thai for a birthday party that night. The niece and other survivors, including Richardson's longtime partner, Steven Roderick, have been attending Grant's court appearances and following the case.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein told Grant on Tuesday that in rejecting the plea offer extended by Senior Assistant State's Attorney Stephen M. Carney, Grant is exposing himself to a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison if he is convicted.
"You need to know that, so later, if you're convicted ... you can't say, 'I'll take the 40 (years),''' Strackbein told Grant.
The state withdrew the offer, and the case was added to the trial list.
Richardson's family members left the courtroom saying, "He's going to get 80 years."
— Karen Florin