Anderson jury hears from defendant via videotape

Dickie E. Anderson Jr., accused of murdering two women in the late 1990s, may choose between testifying on his own behalf at his murder trial and remaining silent.

Regardless, the jury that will decide whether he is guilty has heard a lot from Anderson already.

On Friday, as his double murder trial continued in New London Superior Court, the prosecution played a video interview recorded at the Waterford police station on June 1, 2010, the day Anderson was charged with the 1997 strangling death of Renee Pellegrino. Two months later, they also charged him with killing Michelle Comeau on May 1, 1998, in the same manner.

A father of three from New London with a criminal history that includes violence against women, Anderson turns 42 on Tuesday.

On the video, alternately hunched forward with his head hung low and sitting straight with his arms up, bracing his head, he continued to deny that he had killed Pellegrino and Comeau, both prostitutes, as Detective David Lamoureux from the state police and Waterford Patrolman Thomas Viens III confronted him with a series of lies they had caught him in throughout their investigation.

Anderson continued his claim that he had had sex with Pellegrino at his sister's apartment on Fern Street in New London about 3:30 a.m. on June 25, 1997. For the first time, he admitted that Pellegrino "did get a little loud" because she wanted more money.

He said he walked her outside and pointed to the Laurel Avenue home of a man who could provide her with crack cocaine, and that was the last he saw of her. A few hours later, a Waterford patrolman discovered Pellegrino's body, laid out and naked, in the middle of the cul-de-sac at Waterford Parkway South.

Anderson said he read about her death in the newspaper.

"You think I'm (expletive deleted) lying, but I never touched that lady like that," he said. "All these years, I'm thinking if I just stayed with her and walked with her a little longer, nothing wouldn't happen to her."

Anderson, who at the beginning of the police investigation denied knowing both victims, admitted he knew them after being confronted with DNA evidence linking him to Pellegrino and witness statements tying him to Comeau. During the June 1, 2010, interview, he admitted that "Darrell," a man he claimed had worked with him in The Day mail room and had left his sister's house with Pellegrino that night, did not exist. He could not provide police with the name of the drug dealer from Laurel Avenue.

Concerning Comeau, he said he had met her briefly at his father's apartment in Norwich the day her body was discovered on New Park Avenue in Franklin. He said people partying at the apartment were joking about having Comeau "take care" of him, the "baby" of the family, but that when the two of them went into the bathroom together, he was not aroused and she left. He said he never saw her again.

"I knew her for like 15 minutes," Anderson said.

Prosecutors David J. Smith and Stephen M. Carney are expected to rest their case early next week, after which defense attorneys John T. Walkley and Christopher Duby will begin calling witnesses.

On Friday, as the warmer than usual early spring weather continued, several of the Anderson jurors had showed up in court wearing colorful, Hawaiian-style shirts.


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