Detectives say career criminal ordered younger men to conduct home invasions

A 44-year-old man with a history of violent crimes was presented in New London Superior Court Tuesday on charges that he directed three younger men to commit armed home invasions in Montville and Ledyard in 2011.

Frank J. Harris, also known as Frank Pugh and “Nitty,” is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit home invasion, two counts of accessory to home invasion, two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of accessory to first-degree burglary.

Harris, whose criminal history dates back to 1989 and includes convictions for manslaughter, assault, weapons and narcotics, was incarcerated on a parole violation at the time of his arrest. He had previously lived at 16 Franklin St. in Norwich.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit prepared by detective Michael Hoagland of the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad, Harris directed Louis Seignious, Vincent Sebastian and Dawayne Sebastian to carry out home invasions on Sunny Hill Road in Montville and Lake Street in Ledyard in October 2011.

Seignious, 25, who was sentenced in March to five years in prison for the crimes, told detectives he had been working for Harris in an attempt to settle a drug debt and that Harris threatened to harm Seignious’ family until he paid the debt. Seignious said Harris provided him with his vehicle and directed him to conduct a home invasion on Sunny Hill Drive in Montville in which one of the residents was “in on” the crime. Seignious said he and the Sebastians, who are brothers, conducted the robbery using a knife after the accomplice, whom Harris said had been “compensated” for cooperating, let them in the front door. Seignious said they took about 7 1/2 ounces of marijuana. He said soon after the robbery, Harris purchased an AK-47 assault rifle from an associate in Seignious’ presence.

Seignious said Harris then instructed them to rob a home on Lake Street in Ledyard, providing them with a car and instructing them to conduct surveillance on the property and retrieve the assault rifle and a stolen revolver from a home on Heath Spur in Ledyard. Seignious and the Sebastians entered a home on Marla Drive, a block away from the home Harris intended them to rob. They confronted the occupants with the guns and demanded cash and narcotics. They eventually realized they had the wrong address and left the property.

Vincent and Dawayne Sebastian, who are 22 and 21, respectively, and are serving prison time for the crimes, provided detectives with similar versions of the events. Vincent Sebastian noted Harris was “mad as hell” with the results of the botched home invasion in Ledyard.

During Harris’ court appearance, Judge Hillary B. Strackbein appointed attorney Kevin C. Barrs from the Public Defender’s office to represent Harris. Barrs entered a not guilty plea on Harris’ behalf and the judge continued the case to June 10. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Paul J. Narducci is prosecuting the case.

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