End could be near in hear­ing in­volv­ing slain UConn pro­fes­sor

Hartford Courant - - Connecticut - By David Owens dowens@courant.com

NEW BRI­TAIN – A hear­ing in a de­fense ef­fort to have the mur­der charge against Linda Ko­suda-Bigazzi dropped could be near­ing an end.

On Fri­day, the ninth day of the hear­ing, de­fense at­tor­ney Pa­trick To­masiewicz ques­tioned two state po­lice de­tec­tives and a state trooper who were at the Burling­ton home Ko­suda-Bigazzi shared with her late hus­band, UConn med­i­cal school pro­fes­sor Dr. Pier­luigi Bigazzi, as it was searched.

Ko­suda-Bigazzi, 70, is ac­cused of killing her hus­band with a ham­mer, then wrap­ping his body and stash­ing it in the base­ment of their home on Smith Lane.

To­masiewicz fo­cused on how state po­lice de­tec­tives came to pos­sess doc­u­ments the de­fense con­tends are pro­tected by at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege, and how they were sub­se­quently han­dled. De­tec­tives tes­ti­fied the doc­u­ments were found in a locked fil­ing cabi­net in a sec­ond-floor of­fice at

the cou­ple’s home.

One file was la­beled “crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­ney” and an­other “in­ci­dent 2017.” A nar­ra­tive, al­legedly writ­ten by Ko­suda-Bigazzi and de­scrib­ing the mur­der, was con­tained in both files. The nar­ra­tive was used in the war­rant for Ko­suda-Bigazzi’s ar­rest.

To­masiewicz con­tends the files con­tained priv­i­leged in­for­ma­tion and that when po­lice read them, his client’s rights were ir­repara­bly harmed. He wants the case to be dis­missed.

On Fri­day, To­masiewicz fo­cused on the lan­guage state po­lice used to de­scribe the ev­i­dence they col­lected and where it was found, and their knowl­edge of the at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege.

Pros­e­cu­tor Chris­tian Wat­son dis­cov­ered the po­ten­tially priv­i­leged in­for­ma­tion and brought it to the at­ten­tion of the de­fense and New Bri­tain Su­pe­rior Court Judge Joan K. Alexan­der. He char­ac­ter­ized it as an un­in­ten­tional in­tru­sion.

Alexan­der re­moved the New Bri­tain state’s at­tor­ney’s of­fice from the case and or­dered a “Le­narz hear­ing” to eval­u­ate what im­pact the in­tru­sion has had on the case. That hear­ing has been go­ing on be­fore New Bri­tain Su­pe­rior Court Judge Ver­non D. Oliver.

In State vs. Le­narz, Pa­trick Le­narz, a for­mer karate in­struc­tor from Sims­bury, was con­victed in March 2007 of risk of in­jury af­ter po­lice said he im­prop­erly touched a mi­nor. Lawyer Kevin Ferry of New Bri­tain ar­gued that Le­narz’s con­sti­tu­tional rights were vi­o­lated af­ter po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors read doc­u­ments pro­tected by at­tor­ney-client priv­i­lege on Le­narz’s com­puter.

In a 4-2 de­ci­sion, the state Supreme Court found the “de­fen­dant was pre­sump­tively prej­u­diced by the pros­e­cu­tor’s in­tru­sion into the priv­i­leged com­mu­ni­ca­tions taken from the de­fen­dant’s com­puter be­cause the priv­i­leged ma­te­ri­als con­tained a highly spe­cific and de­tailed trial strat­egy.”

The jus­tices said that any remedy other than dis­miss­ing the charges would be “a mis­car­riage of jus­tice.” Le­narz was re­leased from prison in November 2010, three years into his fouryear sen­tence.

Should the Ko­suda-Bigazzi case sur­vive the Le­narz hear­ing, it will be trans­ferred to the Hartford Ju­di­cial District. Three more hear­ing dates are sched­uled, and then the judge is ex­pected to re­port his de­ci­sion in writ­ing.


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