Victim testifies in Norwich Goth strangulation trial

New London — Michael Lovering said he was sitting on his heels in his bedroom in Norwich, his back to the door and facing his roommate's girlfriend, when he "felt a pressure around my neck and everything was going black."

It felt like a string or a rope, he said, and he would later learn it was the string of a 20-inch leather corset he owned but had never worn because it was too small. But before he knew what happened to him, Lovering was in a medically induced coma at Hartford Hospital.

Asked about the next thing he remembered after the pressure around his neck, Lovering wiped away tears as he responded, "Waking up in the hospital with no legs."

Lovering, 37, spent more than two hours on the witness stand Thursday afternoon in the trial of his former roommate, Kristopher P. Prudhomme, who has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Oct. 22, 2016, strangulation incident that necessitated the amputation of both of Lovering's legs.

The trial began Tuesday, and Prudhomme, 30, has been charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, first-degree strangulation, intentional cruelty to persons and tampering with physical evidence.

After struggling with alcoholism, drug problems and other issues while living in Louisiana, Lovering testified that he moved to Connecticut on Oct. 1, 2016, looking for a fresh start.

He knew Prudhomme through his side work as a promoter in the "industrial Goth" scene, and together they moved into a 586 E. Main St. apartment in Norwich.

Saturday, Oct. 22, was the second time Lovering had gone out to a club with Prudhomme and Prudhomme's girlfriend, Lauren Muskus. When they returned to the apartment, Lovering said, he decided to come clean to his roommate about the fact that he had twice had sexual relations with Muskus.

"I don't like to hide anything from anybody, and I'm always honest and open about what I do in life," Lovering testified. He said he was surprised that Prudhomme got angry and asked him to move out.

Lovering retreated to his room to calm down, he said. He spoke with his girlfriend, Stormie — who still was in Louisiana — and her best friend on Facebook Messenger, to see if they could help him get the money to move back.

Muskus came into the room, and then Prudhomme came in and allegedly strangled Lovering.

In cross-examination, defense attorney Damon A.R. Kirschbaum asked Lovering about a 3:30 a.m. message from his phone that read, "Have fun with my death."

Lovering testified that he doesn't recall what time he was strangled but asserted he didn't write that message, noting, "I would never put anybody through that turmoil ... of thinking that I'm going to kill myself."

What followed was questioning of Lovering's past depression and heavy drinking. In his 911 call, Prudhomme had called the incident a possible suicide attempt. Lovering maintains he has never been suicidal.

As for the 3:30 a.m. message the night of the incident, Lovering indicated that others could know his phone passcode because he lets people use his phone a lot, as he has "nothing to hide in my life."

Kirschbaum brought up that Lovering had evidence on his phone of him helping other people get drugs, along with private sexual materials.

Both prosecutor Stephen M. Carney and Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed questioned the necessity of Kirschbaum going into all the sexual content on Lovering's phone but then court adjourned.

The defense will continue its cross-examination of Lovering on Friday, and the prosecution potentially will call another witness. Jongbloed said she possibly will take up sealing of the competency evaluation.

e.moser@theday.com

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