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Baker wants new attorney, trial in Colchester homicide

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Elmar Baker, who is charged with murder in the Oct. 30, 2018, stabbing death of Norwich artist Jo-Jo Kolodnicki Jr., turned down an offer from a state prosecutor Thursday to plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in exchange for an 18-year prison sentence.

Baker, 39, also told New London Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein he wants a new attorney. He had been represented by defense attorney Carmine J. Giuliano. Strackbein agreed to let Giuliano withdraw from the case and have an attorney appointed through the public defender's office, while noting that the plea offer likely wouldn't change with a new attorney.

The judge continued the case to Jan. 31, and said she wouldn't add the case to the trial list until Baker discusses it with his new attorney.

Baker has said on the record in court that he doesn't see how the state could prove he intentionally killed Kolodnicki.

According to court documents and testimony, the victim, Norwich artist and mailman Kolodnicki, was jealous of Baker, who was working and spending time with Kolodnicki's wife, Linda.

Linda Kolodnicki said she and Baker worked together on Oct. 30, 2018, and that she saw her husband's car in the parking lot as she and Baker pulled into his condominium complex at 55 Renee Drive in Colchester.

While she and her husband spoke, the state alleges Baker went into his condominium and retrieved a wood-handled knife. Linda Kolodnicki said he approached the couple, and Jo-Jo Kolodnicki turned to him and yelled: "What are you (expletive) doing with my wife?" Linda Kolodnicki said Baker remained calm and spoke to him in a low voice. She said Joseph Kolodnicki pushed Baker with both hands on his chest, she said, and she left to go into the apartment to get Baker's fiancée. As she left, she saw her husband punch Baker.

She said by the time she returned to the scene from the apartment, her husband was on the ground unconscious. The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said he died of a stab wound to the torso. State police said they found the alleged murder weapon, a bloodied knife, in an adjacent field the next day.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Thomas M. Delillo is prosecuting the case.

k.florin@theday.com

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