Connecticut attorney suspected of killing over child-molestation suspicions
A lawyer climbed through a neighbor’s bedroom window and stabbed him to death after being told by a family member that the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter, authorities say.
Barry James, 58, was stabbed in the chest nearly a dozen times Monday. The lawyer, Jonathon Edington, 29, was charged with murder and burglary and was released on $1 million bail Wednesday.
Capt. Gary MacNamara said that police had not received a complaint about the child being assaulted before the killing, and “we have no indication it’s true or not true.”
Edington’s attorney, Michael Sherman, said the information came from Edington’s wife. “The daughter gave the mother information which was alarming and disturbing. The mom relayed it to her husband. That was the spark,” Sherman said.
James’ 87-year-old mother discovered his body. When officers went to Edington’s home, they found him standing by his kitchen sink with what appeared to be blood on him, and a large kitchen knife next to him on a counter, authorities said
“He’s in shock,” Edington’s attorney said. “This is the most unexpected turn of events one can imagine with this young man’s background.”
Police had gone to the neighborhood before, when Edington called to complain that he could see James through a window, police said. “Either he was partly clothed or revealed parts of his anatomy that were inappropriate,” MacNamara said.
Edington, a graduate of Syracuse University and Fordham University Law School, has been practicing patent law, Sherman said. Police said Edington has no criminal record.
Rita James declined to comment on her son’s death.
James served two days behind bars in 2001 on a drunken driving charge, according to the state Correction Department.
“He had some bizarre behavior over the last month,” said Darrell Maynard, a neighbor. “He drove his car through his garage, hit the other neighbor’s building.”
Another time a neighbor found James intoxicated on the street, Maynard said. James shouted obscenities at children, he said.
As for Edington, Maynard said: “Something had to happen that was terrible for this to have occurred.” Edington “seemed like a computer geek or something. He was not anybody you would ever feel you were threatened by.” ..Source.. by MSNBC
Lawyer gets 12 years for killing suspect
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A lawyer who stabbed his neighbor to death because he thought the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
"It's a Shakespearean tragedy brought into the real world," Superior Court Judge Richard F. Comerford Jr. said at the sentencing. "Something was set into motion in this man's mind -- real or perceived. It was very real to him."
Jonathon Edington, 30, attacked neighbor Barry James, 58, in James' bedroom last year after his wife told him she thought James had molested their daughter. Officers said they found Edington washing the victim's blood off in a kitchen sink.
Fairfield police also investigated the molestation allegation and said they found no evidence to back it up. They said Edington's wife, Christina, refused to cooperate with the investigation of the slaying, and prosecutor Jonathan Benedict has said a defense psychiatrist determined she suffered from postpartum depression.
Jonathon Edington's attorney, Andrew Bowman, said Edington was not in his right mind when he cut through a window screen, climbed into the room and stabbed James 11 times.
"He is a good and decent man who suffered such a traumatic event in his life that he lost control," Bowman said, urging a more lenient sentence of five to eight years in prison.
Edington, a patent attorney, and his wife entered court holding hands. After the sentence was read, Edington, who had been free on bond, was handcuffed and led away as Christina Edington fell to her knees. The judge issued a 20-year sentence in a plea bargain, but suspended eight years of that, leaving 12 years to serve, plus five years' probation.
"He is extremely remorseful and takes responsibility for his actions as he has always done," Bowman said after sentencing.
James' parents, Rita and Charlie James, filed a victims' statement with the court saying, "We will never be the same." Rita James witnessed her son's stabbing.
"A terrible tragedy has happened for nothing, but it has destroyed all that we have," they wrote.
Also Friday, an attorney for the Jameses served Christina Edington with a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing her of triggering the stabbing and making up the abuse claim. A similar lawsuit is pending against Edington.
Christina Edington did not comment as she left the courthouse.
Benedict had asked the judge to impose the maximum 20-year prison sentence.
"I'm a bit disappointed," he said after the hearing. "To the judge's credit, it was a very difficult case, a tough call."
James' family also wanted the full 20 years.
"Many lives have been destroyed here," said Charlene Benoit, James' sister. "Twelve years is not nearly enough. I think it's a terrible injustice for my brother."
James' relatives said he was a good person who was kind to others and devoted to his elderly parents. They said the molestation claim was an outrage.
"As if taking his flesh was not enough, you went after his good name with your twisted accusations," Benoit said at the hearing, directing her comments toward Jonathon Edington. ..Source.. by Dave Collins
Man guilty in Fairfield homicide offers no explanation
After stabbing his neighbor on a quiet Fairfield street 13 times after his wife told him the neighbor molested their young daughter, Jonathon Edington walked back to his house and calmly called 911.
"You need to send an ambulance to 101 Colony St.," Edington is heard calmly telling the emergency dispatcher on the 4-year-old recording that was played Thursday to a Bridgeport Superior Court jury. "You need to send police, too ... there has been a stabbing."
When the dispatcher pressed Edington to tell him who did the stabbing, Edington hung up.
But at the home next door, it was anything but calm.
"A man just stabbed my son!" screamed Charles James on the 911 tape when he found 59-year-old Barry James lying in a pool of blood on the floor. "It was some neighbor. What did he do this for?"
The 33-year-old Edington, a patent lawyer, later pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years in prison for killing Barry James on Aug. 28, 2006. However, he now is facing trial before a civil court jury as the James' family seeks to clear the victim's name.
Edington, a lawyer who despite evidence to the contrary, maintains that James molested his 2-year-old daughter, is representing himself and plans to testify before the six-member jury when the trial resumes Friday morning.
In opening arguments Thursday, Edington told the jury he has no explanation for stabbing his disabled neighbor to death.
"I wish I had an explanation of what happened. I have no explanation for you or for the James family," he told the jury in his opening statement.
But Richard Meehan Jr., who represents the family of Barry James, had no trouble explaining to the jurors why the plaintiffs feel they should find Edington responsible for the victim's death and order him to pay damages to the James' family.
"Barry James died at the age of 59. This man had no right to take his life," Meehan argued.
Meehan presented four witnesses in his case Thursday, Fairfield police Officers Gregory Gunter, Robert Chaisson and Frederick Hine, and James' sister Charlene Benoit.
Gunter said when he arrived at the Edington home, he saw Edington standing at the kitchen sink washing James' blood off his hands. "He was unemotional, as well as cool, calm and collected," the officer testified.
In addition to investigating James' death, Hine also said he investigated Christine Edington's claim that James molested their daughter.
Hine said they tested the little girl's bedding, her clothing and checked her bedroom window for James' fingerprints and turned up nothing. "No evidence of a sexual assault was found," he added.
Benoit testified her brother suffered from a heart condition and Type Two diabetes, and needed help to walk up stairs.
Meehan ended his case showing the jury a videotaped deposition or questioning session with James' 91-year-old mother, Rita.
In it, Rita James recalls walking into her son's bedroom to see Edington confronting him.
"He was saying something to Barry about his daughter," the frail woman recalled. Her son responded: "I don't even know your daughter," and then Rita James said she saw Edington pounding his fist over and over into the victim's chest. It wasn't until seconds later that she realized Edington was holding a knife in the fist. ..Source.. by Daniel Tepfer, Staff Writer
Insurer won't cover Fairfielder who fatally stabbed neighbor
Oct. 27--BRIDGEPORT -- A Superior Court judge on Monday ruled a Fairfield lawyer, who fatally stabbed his disabled neighbor three years ago because he erroneously believed the man had molested his daughter, won't get help from his insurance company in the lawsuit filed against him by the victim's family.
Judge Richard Arnold, in a 19-page decision, stated USAA Casualty Insurance Co. is not responsible for any civil verdict against Jonathan Edington because of his policy's exclusion against intentional or criminal acts.
In August 2007, Edington pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, suspended after he serves 12 years, followed by five years probation, for fatally stabbing 59-year-old Barry James in his Colony Street home on Aug. 28, 2006.
Richard Meehan Jr., who represents the James family, said their lawsuit against Edington will head to trial in Superior Court next month.
"Judge Arnold's decision does not affect our lawsuit against Jonathan Edington, it just means his insurance company will not cover him" for any damages, Meehan said.
James, stabbed by Edington nearly a dozen times in the chest, was found by his 87-year-old mother, Rita, lying on the floor of his bedroom at 101 Colony St. in Fairfield, police said.
A short time later, officers went next door to the Edington house at 111 Colony St. and found the suspect at the kitchen sink, his hands and arms covered in the victim's blood.
Barry told police she was in her kitchen when she heard an argument erupt in her son's bedroom. She entered the room and saw a man climb in through the window, push her son to the floor and stab him repeatedly.
After the attack, the intruder jumped out the window, Rita James told police, adding that she saw the man run to the house next door.
The Edingtons, who were renting the Colony Street house, were vacationing in Rhode Island with family on Aug. 28, 2006, but Jonathan Edington returned home before his wife and two children. Police said when Edington got home, he received a call from his wife who told him their daughter, who was 2 years old at the time, had just told her that she had been abused by Barry James in their home and in his car.
Edington, apparently enraged by the call, ran to the James home and leapt through the window of James' first-floor bedroom and stabbed him to death.
Christina Edington had previously complained to Fairfield police that she could see James walking around the bedroom in his underwear from her kitchen window. Police went to the James home, and Barry James agreed to keep the blinds down in his room when he was undressed. After James' death and her husband's arrest, Christina Edington filed a complaint with police in which she claimed James had molested their daughter.
Fairfield police conducted an intensive investigation into Christina Edington's claims and determined it was improbable that James, who was diabetic and couldn't walk without leg braces, could have pulled himself up the 4 feet to the Edington daughter's window, crawl inside and molest the girl while her parents were home, as Christina Edington had claimed.
James' family later filed the lawsuit against Christina Edington, contending that her false accusations against James contributed to her husband's attack, but a judge threw out that suit. ..Source.. by AllBusiness.com