Daniel Candales, accused of fleeing from Stonington police with a 9-year-old girl in his car on New Year's Eve, has been arrested twice since Monday and is being held in lieu of a $1.5 million cash bond.
The 42-year-old Lisbon man, who owns a landscaping and snowplowing business, was awaiting sentencing on several domestic violence charges involving his ex-wife when he was charged with taking off with his girlfriend's daughter as he was dropping off the child he shares with his ex-wife on Dec. 31.
Police said they arrested him after chasing him into Rhode Island and back. He posted a $160,000 bond and was placed on home confinement and GPS monitoring pending a court appearance on Thursday.
On Monday, state police charged him with criminal possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order after probation officers found a rifle in the attic during an unannounced visit to his home at 187 Rose Hill Road. Candales said he had turned over his guns years ago and that the rifle belongs to his ex-wife, according to his attorney, Anthony R. Basilica.
Candales posted an additional $20,000 bond following Monday's arrest. On Wednesday, police served Candales with a warrant charging him with violation of a protective order. Judge Kevin P. McMahon signed the warrant and set a $1 million cash bond, he said, after receiving a call from a state's attorney who told him Candales had made a statement to his probation officer that indicated he was going to "abscond."
McMahon, who is now assigned to Superior Court in Norwich, went to the Broad Street courthouse in New London to preside over Candales' court appearance Thursday. Both Candales' ex-wife and his current girlfriend were in court, along with the ex-wife's attorney, domestic violence victim advocates, a probation officer and several lawyers.
"This started off in the normal way the domestic violence court operates," McMahon said. When he left New London for Norwich in September, he thought the case was resolved, McMahon said, adding that the case had lingered too long.
"To the degree I am culpable on that, I say, 'Shame on me,''' McMahon said.
Candales had pleaded no contest in January 2012 to five counts of violation of a protective order and one count of third-degree assault. He was participating in the domestic violence diversion program that may have enabled him to resolve his cases with a suspended prison sentence. In the meantime, Candales picked up additional charges, and McMahon and prosecutor Kevin Dunn, who was handling the case, were assigned elsewhere.
One of the conditions of Candales' participation in the diversionary program was that he obey the law. As a result of the new arrests, he now faces up to eight years in prison on the charges to which he pleaded no contest. McMahon warned Candales he is exposed to additional prison time based on the new charges.
Candales told the judge he is hiring the law office of John Williams of New Haven. It was unclear whether Basilica would remain in the case as well. Basilica requested a five-week continuance, saying Williams would need time to go through all of Candales' files. Candales will not be posting bond and will remain incarcerated, he said.
Prosecutor Mary Jean Kanabis asked for a short continuance for sentencing, noting that Candales pleaded guilty months ago. The judge continued the case to Feb. 20 and said he wants to have a "meaningful pretrial discussion" of the case on that day or proceed to sentencing.