State sentencing on hold in W. Haven slaying Page B1
Victim killed in West Haven, bound in plastic, dumped in Hamden park
MILFORD — State sentencing was postponed Tuesday for a West Haven man who killed his roommate and attempted to blow up his body in Hamden.
Christopher Miller’s date in Superior Court for the July 4, 2015, murder of Edward Brooks, 39, has been stayed until Dec. 15.
But first, he will be sentenced Dec. 14 in U.S. District Court. Miller pleaded guilty in April to possession of a firearm and explosives in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Police have said Miller shot Brooks in a two-family house they shared with several people in West Haven, then drove his body to a park in Hamden, where he tried to blow it up.
At the time of the shooting, police linked the two men with drugs, Miller’s arrest warrant application said. Investigators allegedly found crack cocaine and methamphetamine in the “known drug house,” the application said. Brooks was described as Miller’s drug “mule,” who did his “dirty work” in exchange for living in the basement.
Brooks’ body was found in the woods after a reported explosion in West Rock Ridge State Park in Hamden. It was wrapped in plastic and bound with rope, with an explosive and debris nearby. Brooks, a divorced father of two, had suffered three apparent gunshot wounds. He was identified through fingerprints.
Others arrested in the investigation of the crime were: Natali Martinez, 32, also Natali Martinez-Sanchez, who lived on the first floor of the house at 59 Front Ave., with Miller and her three children, then-under age 14; Miller’s mother, Deborah Miller, 61, and James Lloyd Bryant, 66, who lived on the second floor; and Maurice D. “Mo” Wearing, 28, a grandson of former New Haven Police Chief Melvin Wearing who lived on Kilborn Street in West Haven.
In July 2015, federal authorities arrested all five and charged them with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
Christopher Miller is being held in lieu of $1.74 million bail at MacDougallWalker Correctional Institution in Suffield on one count of murder and other charges. He is represented by Zingarro & Cretella LLC of Bridgeport.
Bryant is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 17 in Superior Court in Milford. He is represented by Matthew D. Popilowski, of Lynch, Traub, Keefe and Errante of New Haven. Bryant is guilty of tampering with physical evidence, a class D felony. He has been held since July 2015 at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield in lieu of $500,000 bail. He faces up to five years in prison. In 2016, he pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack).
Wearing is being held on a weapons charge in lieu of $1.2 million bail at Northern Correctional Institution. He is facing six felonies, including a conspiracy to commit murder charge and his case is on the state trial list. His attorney is John Barney Jr. of Milford. Wearing has pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack) and possession of an explosive by a convicted felon and will be sentenced Feb. 14 in federal court.
Martinez is in federal custody serving three years after pleading guilty in 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack).
Deborah Miller is serving six years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2016 to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack), and faces five years of supervised release.