Jury selection under way in Norwich murder trial

Jury selection began in New London Superior Court Tuesday in the case of Irene R. Reynolds, who is accused of killing her mother, Bertha Reynolds, in Norwich in 1993.

Reynolds, 41, has been held in lieu of $1.5 million at the Janet S. York Correctional Institution since May 2010, when the Southeastern Connecticut Cold Case Unit obtained a warrant for her arrest. She filed a speedy trial motion last month, compelling the court to schedule jury selection within 30 days.

Jury selection initially was slated to begin Oct. 29 but was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

State's Attorney Michael L. Regan and defense attorney Linda J. Sullivan began questioning prospective jurors Tuesday and are expected to select a jury of 12 regular members and two or three alternates. The state is scheduled to begin presenting evidence on Dec. 3, and the trial is expected to last up to 2½ weeks. Judge Arthur C. Hadden is presiding.

In taking her case to trial, Reynolds rejected an offer to plead guilty to the lesser charge of first-degree manslaughter in exchange for a sentence of 20 years, suspended after 10 years served and five years probation. Had she accepted the offer, her attorney would have had the right to argue for a shorter prison term at her sentencing.

Bertha Reynolds, 60, was found at the bottom of a basement staircase in her home at 84 Laurel Hill Ave., Norwich, on July 9, 1993. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said she died of blunt head trauma and ligature strangulation.

The case went unsolved for 17 years until the cold case unit obtained a videotaped statement from a former friend of Irene Reynolds'. The woman, Kim Stone, told police she saw Reynolds attack her mother after the two fought about money.


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