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New London man arraigned on murder charges

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New London — Robert Parise, who was fatally stabbed Thursday, had been found to be at high risk of being murdered when he was assessed by victim advocates following his former partner and housemate's arrest on domestic violence charges in June.

Parise, 63, of 25 Brainard St., told staff from Safe Futures — the area provider for victims of domestic violence — that Christopher Petteway, 42, had threatened to kill him when Petteway was released from prison following a 30-day sentence, according to Katherine Verano, the agency's executive director. 

City police allege that Petteway did just that Thursday afternoon, stabbing Parise multiple times in the legs and torso in the kitchen of Parise's home and telling police after he was captured that he had "got him" as many times as he could and that he was glad Parise died.

On Friday, the Safe Futures staff, traumatized by what they characterized as the preventable death of a "sweet man" and "gentle soul," watched as Petteway was arraigned at the Geographical Area 10 courthouse on Broad Street on charges of murder and violation of a protective order.

Brainard Street is adjacent to the courthouse, and some of the judicial marshals who had rendered first aid to Parise on Thursday after he collapsed in the back driveway of the courthouse were on duty Friday for the arraignment of his accused killer.

According to a police report, Parise was lying on his back, his legs covered in blood, bleeding from stab wounds to his chest, and internal organs protruding due to injuries of the left and lower abdomen.

Praise was able to tell Judicial Marshal Sgt. Jaime Spotten and the first police officers on the scene that he'd been attacked by Petteway, according to the report. Witnesses said Spotten and other marshals, including Josh Lillibridge, Dale Thompson and Jason Joseph, provided Parise comfort and applied pressure to his wounds to stem the bleeding while waiting for an ambulance. The back road of the courthouse was taped off Friday morning until a contractor could clean up the thick blood that was left on the driveway.

Petteway told court officials he had been living most recently in transitional housing in Bridgeport and working at temporary jobs. During the booking process at city police headquarters, he told police, "I had a key to the house, went in and just stabbed him up," according to a police report.

Judge Karyl Carrasquilla set his bond at $2,050,000, ordered a medical watch and substance abuse detoxification and transferred the case to the court where major crimes are tried. Petteway's next court date is Oct. 24.

According to police, a passer-by called 911 at 2:14 p.m. Thursday to report that a fight was taking place at 25 Brainard St. and someone had been stabbed. Arriving at the scene, Officer Melissa Schafranski asked Parise how he knew Petteway, and Parise, who was struggling to breathe, said "rehab with him," according to a police report.

A man at the scene told police the attack took place in the kitchen. Police said they searched the backyard of the adjacent home and recovered a bloodied black-handled knife with an 8-inch straight cutting edge.

Parise was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he underwent surgery. He was transferred to Yale-New Haven Hospital for further surgery but was pronounced dead at 1:05 a.m.

Witnesses told police that Petteway had run onto Broad Street toward the waterfront following the attack. Police Sgt. Lawrence M. Keating located Petteway near the Bank Street Connector railroad tracks a short time later and took him into custody, according to a police report. Petteway, his jeans drenched with blood, remained defiant throughout the arrest and booking processes, telling officers to shoot him, admitting he had stabbed Parise and telling them, "I hope he dies" and "I got him as many times as I could." He insisted on smiling for his booking photo, even when Officer Jeffrey Nichols asked him not to.

Petteway had served a 30-day prison sentence this past summer after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and second-degree threatening in connection with a June 19 incident. He had a history of substance abuse and mental issues and a previous criminal record in New York, Florida and Virginia, according to bail commissioner Timothy Gilman. Public records indicate he had convictions for assault and aggravated stalking.

Following Petteway's June arrest, the court had issued a protective order that initially prohibited him from living with Parise. Upon his release from prison, he requested and was granted on Aug. 23 a modification of the protective order. The modified court order required him only to surrender or transfer firearms and ammunition and not to "assault, threaten, abuse, harass, follow, interfere with or stalk" Parise.

Petteway wrote in the application for modification that Parise, his ex-partner and intimate friend, was his power of attorney, beneficiary and housemate, and that he was unable to return home unless he received the modification.

His sentence involved two years of probation, during which he was to be evaluated and treated, if necessary, for anger management, mental health and substance abuse treatment recommended following an evaluation.

Verano said Parise, who had agreed to allow Petteway back in the home, needed more time to work with Safe Futures. She said that often an abuser will coerce a victim into allowing them back. Many domestic violence cases remain on the court docket for up to a year so that both the victim and the abuser can receive the necessary services, she said.

Domestic violence cases make up 35 percent of the court docket and involve people from all walks of life, Verano said.

"Our system has to take domestic violence seriously," she said.

Day Staff Writer Julia Bergman contributed to this story.

k.florin@theday.com

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