Groton police charge 2 men with restraining woman in car

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Groton — Groton City police this week charged a pair of men with breach of peace and unlawful restraint after witnesses reported seeing two males beating a woman inside a vehicle near Washington Park on Tuesday.

Edward Riccio, 61, of 7 Buck Hill Road, Old Saybrook, and Jake Scott, 21, of 191 Shennecossett Parkway, Groton, were with the unidentified victim at Richoni's Lounge in Groton on Tuesday evening before an argument broke out in the car between Riccio and the victim, according to statements to police.

The victim, who was known to the defendants, told police that Riccio was "verbally abusive and kept accusing her of talking to other guys at the bar," and that near Washington Park she demanded several times that he pull over and let her leave the vehicle. When she tried to exit the car, she told police Riccio "pulled her back in the car and choked her with his arm." The victim refused to provide a written signed statement of the incident, police said.

One witness told police she saw two males shoving a woman into a Volkswagen heading toward Interstate 95 South about 7 p.m. Tuesday and "hitting and/or harming her in some way," with an older male in the driver's seat and a younger male in the rear. The witness pulled into a parking lot to call police, and as she passed back by the vehicle moments later, the two males "still appeared to be hitting her," she told police.

The witness reported a license plate number that led Old Saybrook and Groton City police to Riccio's address. Old Saybrook police detained Riccio and Scott at Riccio's address less than two hours after Groton City officers alerted state police and the Old Saybrook Police Department of the incident.

Riccio told police the incident was a "misunderstanding," saying that he and the victim were arguing about her taking his car without permission. He claimed that the victim had punched him and Scott, and that he hooked his arm around her neck area to prevent her from getting out of the car and harming herself. He told police that Scott restrained the victim by hugging her from the rear for most of the car ride.

Police described Scott as intoxicated and defensive when they interviewed him, noting the smell of alcohol on his breath. Scott claimed Riccio "was being an (expletive) toward the victim," and that he was trying to both protect the victim from Riccio while "bear hugging" her to prevent her from hurting herself. Police said Scott "did not want to go in detail on what Riccio did to the victim ... Scott laughed and stated, 'What do I get if I tell you?'"

Police observed no injuries to Riccio or Scott. The victim, who police said had a raspy voice, said her voice and neck were irritated after the incident, and police said they noticed and photographed slight redness on the victim's neck area.

Riccio faces charges of second-degree strangulation, second-degree breach of peace, interfering with police and second-degree unlawful restraint. He was released on a $15,000 bond.

Police charged Scott with second-degree breach of peace and second-degree unlawful restraint. He was released on a $5,000 bond.

A protective order was issued against both defendants, who are scheduled for another appearance at Geographical Area 10 in New London on Tuesday, June 4.

b.kail@theday.com

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