Montville woman charged with manslaughter in boyfriend’s death
Montville ― State police on Wednesday arrested an Uncasville woman on charges she caused the death of her live-in boyfriend by pushing the man and then leaving him incapacitated with a head injury for hours on the floor of their apartment.
Diane Nobleza, 55, of 91 Leffingwell Road, Unit 2, is charged with second-degree manslaughter, intentional cruelty to persons, breach of peace and first-degree assault of an elderly person in the death
Nobleza was arraigned in Norwich Superior Court on Wednesday and remains held in prison in lieu of $100,000 bond.
The arrest stems from an investigation by state police major crime detectives and Montville police into the death of Nobleza’s 64-year-old live-in boyfriend, retired former Montville police Sgt. Richard J. Lenda. Lenda worked as a MOntville police officer for more than 20 years, according to his obituary.
Lenda was found on the couple’s living room floor “unresponsive and cold to the touch,” at about 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2022, police said. His wheel chair and folding wheeled walker were nearby and Nobleza admitted to police he had numerous health issues and was unsteady on his feet.
An autopsy determined Lenda’s death was a homicide, caused by “blunt force injuries of head and torso complicating hypertensive and atherosclerotic disease.”
Nobleza initially told investigators that Lenda had fallen in the kitchen at about 4 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 13, 2022 and hit his head on the refrigerator. Nobleza said he “just fell, he tumbled over, he’s got cuts on his head.” She told police Lenda had crawled to the living room where he had stayed for the rest of the morning, bleeding from the head. Nobleza said she helped stop the bleeding with towels and placed towels under his head.
Nobleza adamantly stated “the Decedent did not want her to call an ambulance for assistance,” the arrest warrant affidavit states. Lenda is not mentioned by name in the arrest warrant affidavit. Nobleza went on to say she left Lenda at 6 a.m. to go to the methadone clinic and claimed he was still alive when she returned.
Police said Nobleza’s story later changed and she made several “inconsistent and contradictory” statements about the events leading up to Lenda’s death, including details about pushing and shoving each other during a dispute on the evening before his death.
For instance, Nobleza initially told police that she had taken a shower at about 10 a.m. that morning and after the shower had found Lenda lying on the floor “cold to the touch” and called 911. Police said, however, that the records indicate the 911 call did not come until 1:26 p.m., about three hours after Nobleza said she found him unresponsive and not breathing.
Under continued questioning, police said Nobleza admitted that on the day before the Lenda’s death, the two had been drinking vodka and had gotten into an argument.
“Nobleza continued to explain that the verbal argument escalated and the Decedent had grabbed her left arm and she had pushed him into a wall near the entrance to her bedroom that caused the Decedent to hit the back of his head,“ the arrest warrant affidavit states.
During one interview, Nobleza said she had left Lenda sitting in a living room chair with the head injury while she went to bed and had not checked on him until about 4 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 13, 2022, when she had to use the bathroom. That’s when she found him on the floor, police said.
After returning from the methodone clinic on the day Lenda was found dead, Nobleza told police she had urged him to go to the hospital but he had refused even though he thought he might have a concussion.
“(Nobleza) also stated he made comments about wanting to go to sleep,” police said.