New London man charged with murder of tribal cousin

A 30-year-old New London man, accused of fatally shooting his cousin Ralph Sebastian Sidberry on April 12 in North Stonington, was arrested in Waynesville, Mo., last month and is being held as a fugitive from justice.

The state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad has obtained an arrest warrant charging James R. Armstrong with murder.

Armstrong was arrested July 27 in Missouri and refused to waive extradition when presented in court on July 31. He is being held without bond in the Pulaski County Jail.

State's Attorney Michael L. Regan said his office is applying for a governor's warrant, which is the formal process for bringing back a prisoner who refuses to waive extradition.

Sebastian Sidberry, 31, was shot at his home at 628C Lantern Hill Road on the Eastern Pequot reservation. He lived with his wife, Rebecca Sebastian Sidberry, and their young daughter. They were awaiting the birth of their second child when he was killed.

Sebastian Sidberry was the permittee of the Globe Spirit Shop in New London.

Both the victim, who was known as Sequoyah Tall Tree, and his accused killer are members of the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation. They were first cousins, according to family members. The motive for the shooting is unclear.

Sebastian Sidberry's mother, Eastern Pequot Tribal Chairwoman Katherine Sebastian Dring, issued a statement via email about Armstrong's arrest.

"We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to the Connecticut State Police Major Crimes Squad for the comprehensive investigation and arrest of James Armstrong for the murder of Ralph O'Hara Sebastian Sidberry, Sequoyah Tall Tree," the statement says. "James committed a heinous and violent act suddenly taking the life of my son, Ralph, from his loving parents, sister, brother, grandparents, wife and young children: a one year old and a baby on the way, dogs, relatives and friends. We pray that James Armstrong suffer the wrath and vengeance of God, our Creator, and be prosecuted and sentenced to the maximum punishment under the law."

State police immediately had identified Armstrong as a person of interest in the shooting. They interviewed him, but he remained free as they continued to investigate.

Armstrong is expected to be extradited to Connecticut and arraigned in New London Superior Court when the state obtains the governor's warrant. The process could take up to 90 days.

k.florin@theday.com

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