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Verdict watch underway in murder trial of Rick Dabate

During closing arguments, the defense tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s timeline, pointing out that there are six pieces of unknown DNA from the murder scene

VERNON, Conn. — Jury deliberation got underway Monday in the high-profile murder trial of Rick Dabate.

It was a busy and emotional day inside the courtroom. The lengthy trial concluded with lengthy closing arguments. 

 We are now on verdict watch. Closing arguments wrapped up at about noon, then the judge charged the jury with their rules and responsibilities. Then the jury was sequestered and began deliberating at about 2:30 p.m.

RELATED: Ellington man accused of killing wife goes to trial after years of delay

Rick Dabate is accused of killing his wife, Connie, just days before Christmas of 2015 in their Ellington home.

“That something like this can happen two days before Christmas. It’s the most heinous awful thing,” said Wendy D’Agastino of Coventry, who has been following the case since the beginning.

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During closing arguments, the defense tried to poke holes in the prosecution’s timeline, pointing out that there are six pieces of unknown DNA from the murder scene.

Rick Dabate claims a masked man took him and his wife captive and shot and killed Connie. But the prosecution says evidence on Connie’s Fitbit tracker shows she was still moving around an hour after Rick said she was dead. 

RELATED: First responders offer testimony as Dabate trial rolls into 2nd day

“I think the prosecution did a fantastic job. I think the FBI with the whole digital footprint and Fitbit specialist from Columbia University, it’s irrefutable,” said D’Agostino.

It’s been a long 22-day trial where the jury heard from more than 150 witnesses. Long trials sometimes mean long deliberations.

 “I’m hoping it’s a quick verdict and I hope it goes in the favor of Connie’s family and I hope the kids can find peace,” said D’Agastino.

Long deliberations can sometimes mean surprising verdicts. This trial was supposed to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19 and a second jury was empaneled. 

“I think this guy has been riding the tide of COVID-19. This has been the best thing that could happen to him was that there was COVID-19 and it delayed it because he’s been out for six years Scott free,” remarked D’Agastino.

During the trial, Dabate himself did take the stand and admitted he lied several times and was having an affair at the time his wife was killed.

Prosecutors have tried to say Dabate tried to stage the murder scene. Debate has continued to say they were tied up in the basement by a large man wearing camouflage.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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