VERNON -- On the same day he was released from jail, Vernon Police arrested a man on manslaughter charges in the death of a woman in April of 2018.
Today in court Chantelle Kellner sat and watched as her best friend’s alleged killer was arraigned on manslaughter charges.
“She always tried to help people,” says Kellner. “She was a very friendly person, caring, cared about everybody, and just a beautiful person.”
More than a year and a half ago, police opened an investigation into the suspicious circumstances surrounding her death. Tuesday, police arrested the victim's friend, 24 year old Jason Fazzino, who she and her child lived with, on three charges—manslaughter, risk of injury to a minor, and violation of a protected order.
“I believe it's a step to find out what really happened to her and I'm glad that the truth will finally come out,” says Kellner.
Fazzino is accused of smothering a 28 year old woman with a pillow until she stopped breathing two times while she was under the influence of cocaine and fetanyl.
The Chief Medical Examiner determined the victim's death, back in April of 2018, a homicide.
Fazzino was arrested Tuesday, the same day he was released from jail on other unrelated charges.
In court, a public defender saying the prosecution is malicious.
“His cases have likely been prejudiced by the delay in serving him,” says the Rockville Superior Court public defender. “He’s been in jail all this time. He’s had the benefit of rehabilitation and he wants you to know that he has participated in programs and he’s a different person now.”
The judge ordered Fazzino held on a combined $525,000. If he posts bond, the court will issue a protective order.
Fazzino was convicted of violating protective orders on 3 other occassions, including this one.
Vernon police say he violated an active protected order while in jail by attempting to contact the protected family member more than 200 times.
Fazzino is due back in court January 10.