Jailhouse informant testifies that Jacques admitted to Norwich murder

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Tywan Jenkins, who was placed in a cell with accused murderer Jean Jacques at Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center last summer, sat on the witness stand Wednesday in New London Superior Court and moved his fist in a downward motion to mimic the way he said Jacques told him he had stabbed Casey Chadwick.  

Jacques, 41, is on trial in New London Superior Court for the June 15, 2015, stabbing death of Chadwick in Norwich.  

Jenkins, 47, who has a lengthy criminal record and eight cases pending at the lower level courthouse on Broad Street, was in court with Shawn G. Tiernan from the public defender's office.

He testified that he went to prison 1½ weeks after his daughter told him she knew Chadwick, whose body had been found in a closet.

Jenkins said he was immediately placed in a cell with Jacques, who told him seven or eight different versions of the incident. He said Jacques also told other prisoners he had killed Chadwick. 

Jacques' final version was the best one, Jenkins testified, so he wrote it out. Jacques copied it in his own writing and asked him to get it to "an agent of the court," he testified.

Through his attorney, Jenkins provided Jacques' statement to authorities. It did not contain a confession of the stabbing. 

Jenkins spoke to police several times, and eventually provided his own written statement during a court appearance in New London before being moved from Jacques' cell.

The state contends Jenkins provided specific information about the case.

He said Jacques told him he had taken Chadwick's cellphone and crack cocaine that night and hidden them in a hole in the wall in a bathroom.

The police returned to Jacques' apartment at 5 Crossway St. about a month after the incident and recovered the items.

Jenkins said Jacques described cleaning the crime scene with bleach and a mop, two items that investigators found in the apartment after the homicide.

Jenkins also told police Jacques said he had buried the knife he had used to kill Chadwick near his former apartment at 111 Broad St.

There has been no testimony that the knife was recovered.

Prosecutor David J. Smith had called Jenkins to the witness stand over the protests of defense attorney Sebastian O. DeSantis, whose motion to suppress Jenkins' testimony was denied by Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed.

The prosecutor asked the judge to preclude DeSantis from referring to Jenkins as a "snitch," a term DeSantis had used during a previous hearing and in a written motion. 

"I think the term has a pejorative character," Smith said. "I think the term 'jailhouse informant' is more accurate."

"I've been practicing law for years, and this is the term we use for jailhouse informants," DeSantis said. "Part of what I'm trying to show is he's trying to use his testimony in order to get something."

The judge ruled that she would not preclude DeSantis from using the term, but he did not utter the word during Jenkins' testimony.

State police Detective Jeffrey Payette from the Eastern District Major Crime Squad had returned to the witness stand earlier Wednesday morning to testify about a search the squad conducted at Jacques' apartment on June 19, 2016.

The jury watched a video of the crime scene, where the detectives found and documented blood stains on the bedroom wall, mattress and floor.

Under cross-examination, DeSantis questioned Payette about the hole in the bathroom wall to the right hand of the toilet, which could be seen in the video. Payette said he looked into it, but did not reach into it with his hand.

The jury heard also from crime squad Detective Brett Langevin, who collected Jacques' clothing and photographed cuts on his hands after Norwich police arrested Jacques on drug charges a few hours after Chadwick's body was found on the afternoon of June 15. 

While Jacques claimed he got the wounds while working as a dishwasher, Dyms Emilie, an acquaintance, testified he didn't notice any cuts or bleeding when he picked up Jacques from work at the Rustic Cafe in East Lyme at 10:30 p.m. on June 14.

Langevin opened a paper bag to show them the sneakers they took from Jacques that day, one of which the state contends tracked blood from the crime scene to Jacques' apartment, where it left an imprint on the floor.

Also testifying Wednesday was the victim's best friend, Chrysta Wydra, who said she constantly texted with Chadwick.

The prosecutor put photographs of their cellphone exchange that night on the projector, noting that the last text Chadwick sent was at 12:40 a.m. on June 15.

Wydra said she tried texting Chadwick the next day, at 11:50 a.m., 2:36 p.m. and 2:50 p.m., and got no response, which had never happened before.

Wydra said Jacques and Chadwick were not close, but she had seen Jacques give Chadwick an eighth of an ounce of marijuana in exchange for some crack cocaine.

Chadwick's boyfriend, Jean Joseph, was selling crack at the time, according to testimony.

The trial resumes Thursday.



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