Men receive lengthy prison sentences in New London cold case murder
Superior Court Judge Arthur C. Hadden on Friday sentenced convicted killers Gerjuan "Cali" Tyus and Darius "P-Nut" Armadore to 55 and 60 years in prison, respectively, for the Dec. 23, 2006, New London shooting death of Todd "T-Rek" Thomas after telling the men they had chosen to live outside of civilized society and that the impact of their crime is "virtually endless."
On Nov. 19, a 12-member jury had found Tyus and Armadore, two 35-year-olds with ties to Dorchester, Mass., and lengthy criminal records, guilty of murder.
Both men had faced a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison and a maximum of 60 years.
"There is no more serious charge than murder," Hadden said. "The repercussions of a murder go on and on and on."
Hadden handed down the sentences one by one in a courtroom packed with family and friends of the victim and his convicted killers and investigators who had spent years working on the cold case murder.
Neither defendant chose to address the court, nor did Thomas' relatives, whose feelings about the case were detailed in a pre-sentencing report.
Thomas, 30, of Mashantucket, was shot in the head as he stood outside of Ernie's Cafe on Bank Street in New London smoking a cigarette.
The investigation revealed that Thomas and Tyus had been feuding over two heavy gold necklaces that Thomas' brother, "John John," had given to Tyus while under the influence of PCP.
They learned that days before his death, "T-Rek" Thomas had driven by Tyus' Willetts Avenue home in a white Lexus and exchanged gunfire with Tyus.
Prosecutor Paul J. Narducci, who tried the case with prosecutor David J. Smith and Inspector Timothy Pitkin, said the murder had been carried out in a "cold-hearted, yet banal way."
Testimony had revealed that Armadore, who worked as an enforcer for Tyus, had shot Thomas at close range and that the men had then gone drinking at a Norwich club.
"This is an almost unfathomable, incomprehensible crime," Narducci said. "It's difficult to imagine how a life can be taken over such trivial reasons."
Narducci said the case would not have been resolved if not for the tireless efforts of New London police and the Southeastern Connecticut/New London County Cold Case Unit.
Though the police immediately suspected Tyus and Armadore, key witnesses were reluctant to talk.
The investigators eventually took the case to a judge serving as an investigative grand jury.
Witnesses were subpoenaed — or compelled via court order — to testify at a secret proceeding, and the judge found there was enough evidence to prosecute the men.
Armadore's girlfriend agreed to provide information after investigators talked to her about a witness protection program. She testified at the trial that the state paid $5,600 to help her relocate to another state.
She said that Armadore broke down the day after the shooting and said he had shot someone.
She said she had heard Tyus and Armadore talking about the feud with Thomas and that she had given Armadore a gun.
Once the two men were arrested, the New London State's Attorney's Office shepherded the case through the court system with the help of the investigators.
At the trial, both of the defendants took the witness stand and proclaimed their innocence.
At the sentencing, attorney Christopher Duby, representing Tyus, and attorney John E. "Jack" Franckling, representing Armadore, both said the men continue to say they are not guilty.
They are both expected to appeal their convictions.