PUTNAM — A Connecticut man who police say killed his father, lived with the corpse for four months, then shot a police officer who entered his home for a welfare check, was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison.
A three-judge panel that convicted Andrew Samuolis, 39, of murder and assault in February after rejecting his insanity defense handed down the punishment in Putnam Superior Court, the Norwich Bulletin reported.
Samuolis fatally shot his 67-year-old father, John, in the back of his head in their Willimantic home in February 2013 after arguing over plans to sell the house, police said.
Neighbors later reported to police that they had not seen John Samuolis in a long time and there were masses of flies on the windows of the house. Willimantic police went to the home for a well-being check and Andrew Samuolis shot Officer Kevin Winkler in the arm when he entered the home, authorities said.
The shooting triggered a large emergency response and manhunt in the neighborhood that ended with an exchange of gunfire and Samuolis in custody. Winkler survived the gunshot wound.
Defense lawyer William Paetzold argued during the trial that Samuolis’ severe autism was a factor in the shootings. A mental health expert testified that Samuolis was unable to cope with the possibility of having to leave his home because of his diminished capacity and lifetime of isolation.
Samuolis had stockpiled weapons and survivalist paraphernalia because of “distorted thinking” that included a fascination with end-of-society scenarios, Paetzold said.
In opposing an insanity defense, prosecutors argued Samuolis was “savvy” enough to fashion a murder weapon out of a flare gun and to lie in wait for an opportune time to kill his father.
“The defendant will always be a threat to others and his propensity for violence renders him incapable of very living outside the confines of a prison,” Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Slitt wrote in a sentencing memo as he sought a 90-year prison sentence.
Information from: Norwich Bulletin