Connecticut to get its turn with convicted murderer

Already facing life in prison for shooting a Long Island jeweler dead, a Queens man charged in the slayings of two Fairfield, Conn., jewelers in their store will be brought to Connecticut next month to face trial, a Stamford, Conn., newspaper reports.

Connecticut State’s Attorney Jonathan Benedict said Wednesday that Chris DiMeo, 23, of Richmond Hill, Queens, will face charges of capital felony—which is punishable by death—along with felony murder, murder, robbery, and possession of a firearm in the deaths of Timothy and Kimberly Ann Donnelly as they closed their jewelry store on Feb. 2, The Advocate reports.

The handgun used to kill the three jewelers was taken from a Greenwich home in a November burglary, police have reportedly said.

Prosecutors are still considering whether to seek the death penalty, Benedict reportedly said. In the New York case, DiMeo agreed to a sentence of life in prison without parole in a plea agreement.

“Even if he spends the rest of his life in jail, we have a terrible crime committed here in Connecticut that we have to resolve,” Benedict reportedly said. “We will bring him in and prosecute him.”

In December, DiMeo embarked on an armed robbery spree of jewelry stores with two accomplices, Nicole Pearce, 23, also of Richmond Hill, and his mother, Maryann Taylor, 41, of Hicksville, N.Y. Over two months, the trio took in more than $300,000 in jewelry and other valuables to support their drug habits.

Pearce also faces charges of felony murder and conspiracy to commit robbery in the Donnelly killings, and will also be extradited, Benedict reportedly said.

All three have pleaded guilty in the shooting death of Thomas Renison, owner of J & J Jewelers in Glen Head, N.Y., and are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 26 in Nassau County Court in Mineola, N.Y.

In Connecticut, a capital felony can carry the death penalty if a person murders two or more people at the same time or in the course of a single criminal act, and the prosecution proves the act was committed in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner, the newspaper reports.

“The terms are rather ambiguous whether to pursue capital punishment, so that is one of the reasons we conduct a rather intense investigation,” Benedict told the newspaper. “It’s still early on.”