Deck stacked against 'cold cases,' officials hope, with release of cards

Two local unsolved murders are among the 52 statewide cases featured on a deck of playing cards that will be distributed to state prison inmates in the hope of solving "cold cases" dating back more than 35 years.

Anthony Hamlin, 40, was found murdered in a vacant field off Shewville Road in Ledyard around 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2006. Hamlin is featured as the deck's 9 of spades.

Tynel "Blue" Hardwick, 29, was gunned down outside Rumors Bar & Grill on Boswell Avenue in Norwich around 11:45 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2008. Hardwick's picture and information is featured on the ace of spades.

The state has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of those involved in each of those two murders.

The deck of cards, featuring murders gone unsolved since 1973, was released Wednesday by the Cold Case Unit in the Office of the Chief State's Attorney.

"The cold case playing cards have provided a valuable tool to assist investigators working to solve cases and achieve justice for the victims of these crimes, their families and the people of Connecticut," said Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane. "I applaud the Department of Correction for its support of this innovative effort to help our cold case units, which have achieved remarkable results from their efforts."

This is the second set of "cold case" cards released by the state. The first was released about two years ago and featured the case of Erika Cirioni, 26, of Norwich, who was last seen alive Dec. 31, 2006. Cirioni's remains were found March 18 off Oxoboxo Dam Road by a group of children playing in the area. The medical examiner could not determine a cause of death, and no one has been charged in Cirioni's killing.

According to a release, the cards are the only cards available for purchase by inmates in the state's prison, and the cost is self-sufficient, meaning there is no cost to taxpayers. Only one case from the last deck was repeated, according to the release.

s.goldstein@theday.com

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