Killer of three may be last to get death penalty in Connecticut

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut Thu May 22, 2014 4:29pm EDT

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BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (Reuters) - A Connecticut man found guilty of a 2006 triple murder was sentenced to death on Thursday in what was likely to be the last capital punishment sentence in the state.

Richard Roszkowski, 49, was convicted of killing a man, a mother and her 9-year-old daughter three years before the state repealed the death penalty in 2012 for future murders.

Roszkowski remained eligible because of his conviction date. He had been sentenced to death once before, but because of an error in jury instructions and several legal delays, his case remained pending until this year.

Eleven men are on death row in Connecticut, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Superior Court Judge John Blawie said "the time has come" to sentence the convicted killer, who chased and gunned down his child victim on a Bridgeport street.

"Nine-year-old Kylie Flannery should have been in school that morning and never made it there because she watched her mother killed in cold blood before trying to run away to save her own life ... but was chased down by the defendant who shot her in the back," Blawie said.

The judge sentenced Roszkowski to death, setting October 1, 2014, as the execution date.

Police said Roszkowski had stalked the mother, Holly Flannery, a former neighbor.

Her husband, Thomas Flannery, was in the courtroom and cried at mention of his slain wife and daughter.

His father Erich Tipke had harsh words for Roszkowski.

"As a grandfather, all of the great memories have been replaced by one thing only - the all-consuming fear that Holly and Kylie must have felt as they begged for their lives," he said.

"I want that same fear to stay with him as he sits in his little room waiting to die," Tipke said.

Defense attorneys argued that their client was paranoid and delusional and suffered from mental illness.

At his sentencing, Roszkowski apologized to the victims' families.

"I am deeply remorseful and sorry for the pain I have caused you," he said.

Governor Dannel Malloy and the state legislature repealed the death penalty for future murders, effective April 25, 2012.

The last person executed in Connecticut was Michael Ross, a convicted murderer who was killed by lethal injection in 2005 after giving up his appeals.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)

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