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T~~p ~~!~igned in Pelkey death

Held in ~w Haven 'on $300,000 bond By Ralph Tomaselli

Record-Journal staff

Report: 'Crazy Ricky' had violent episodes

!1lA..y"k .~ r W

By Kim Green

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MERIDEN - An IS-year-old Manchester man charged with the slaying of Wallingford resident Ba rha ­ .fa Rplkey in 1986 was arraigned in Meriden Superior Court Friday and later taken to the Union Avenue De­ tention Center in New Haven, where he is being held on $300,000 bond. <;< • -15 '8" '0 Kenneth F. lrelandJr., who was charged Thursday

night with felony murder, appeared before Judge Jo­ seph B. Clark, who transferred Ireland's case to Part A of Superior Court in New Haven. Ireland is scheduled to appear there Aug. 23. Ireland, who was chained at the ankles, was led into

Record-Journal staff

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Please see Held I p.4

Kenneth F. Ireland Jr.: Charged in Pelkey slaying.

MANCHESTER - While acquaintances of the Man· chester man charged with the 1986 slaying of Be.rbara Pelkey were surprised Friday by the youth's arrest, Manchester police released a report from June docu­ menting a prior arrest of the teen·ager who they said called himself "Crazy Ricky."

Manchester Police Department records show the teen·ager, Kenneth F. Ireland Jr., had been arrested June 5 for first·degree criminal trespass, second·degree criminal mischief, breach of peace and threatening. The police officer who brought Ireland to the hospital that night to be treated for intoxication reported Ireland

Please see 'Crazy' I p.4


o 'Crazy RicKy~ "went wild." Officer Robert Mazzone said in his report that Ireland, "told security he wanted to get loose and stab everyone in the E.R. (emergency room)." According to the report, Ireland be· ·~ame so violent that he had to be se­ dated by a doctor. Ireland, 18, was charged with felo­ ny murder Thursday night by the Wallingford Police Department for the beating death and rape of Pelkey, a Wallingford resident, on Sept. 3, ]986. In addition, Ireland was charged with first-degree burglary and con· spiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault. Police said Ireland had been living on the streets of Wallingford at the time of the murder. On June 5, according to ~e Man· (hester police arrest report, Ireland al1egedly forced his way into the Man­ chester home of Corinne LaHart and Michael Champagne looking for Champagne, who was at work. According to police documents, La­ Hart did not know Ireland and re­ fused to let him into her home. She reported Ireland "was intoxicated and (that she) feared for her life." The report charges that Ireland pushed his way in and followed her 1lpstairs as she telephoned Cham­ pagne, who in turn called the police .from work. Ireland eventually left the home and police picked him up near Cham­ pagne's workplace. "The accused be­ came unruly and violent inside the cell due in part to his intoxication and was transported to Manchester Me­ morial Hospital emergency room by officer Mazzone," the police records state. Mazzone described Ireland as "very violent" for about an hour, banging his head against windows and thrashing around, until a doctor ordered him sedated. Mazzone was told by the attending physician that , .Ireland had been in the emergency : room a week earlier and "was violent . for 81/ 2 hours." Manchester Police Department ..Public Information Officer Gary Wood said Ireland told police that "Crazy Ricky" was his alias. Ireland is scheduled to appear in

Manchester Superior Court Aug. 16 on the Manchester charges. Members of Ireland's family, who live at 23B Esquire Drive in Manches­ ter, would not comment F'riday morn­ ing. His mother, Cherry Catania, accompanied him to Meriden Superi­ or Court for his arraignment Friday morning. Ireland's employer and some neigh­ bors described him as a "normal kid." "It took me extraordinarily by sur· prise. He's a very nice kid," said Ke­ vin Waterhouse, the owner of the Subway Sandwich Shop on Green Road in Manchester where Ireland worked for the two months prior to his arrest. "He was a normal kid ... in the Na­ tional Guard. That's the primary rea­ son I gave him the job," said Waterhouse. "He made friends with other employees and fit in well." In addition, he said, Ireland's moth­ er had inquired about a job for her son, giving Waterhouse the impres- i sion of a "tight-knit" and "stable" I family. "I didn't know anything about it un­ til I read it in the newspaper," said William Belekewicz, who moved into the Esquire Drive condominium com­ plex three years ago, shortly before Ireland's family. "They pretty much keep to them­ selves," he added. "I can't believe it - he's so young," said a neighbor, who requested ano­ nymity. "He comes and goes. I see him every once in a while," she added. However, another acquaintance who claimed to have known Ireland for the past year and a half said the teen-ager was "prone to violence" and "had a difficult time fitting in with the norm." One Manchester shop owner, who refused to be identified, said Ireland was a regular customer and was fre­ quently disrupting other customers. Ireland had been thrown out of the shop more than once, the owner said . "There's a transient element that doesn't fiUn," said the owner of the shop, located near the boarding house where Ireland lived at the time of his June arrest.


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AVEN - Kenneth F. Ire­ 'as convicted by a New Ra· 'ior Court jury Monday of d murdering Barbara Pel. 'dICt came on what would Pelkey's 34th birthday.

Ireland, a tall, slender 19-year-olu Manchester man, smiled as New Haven County sheriff's officers escorted him from the courtroom after the ver· dict was an!10unce~. He walked out without lookmg at his mother, ChMry ~atJingl,1 w~o ~as the only m~ of eIther amlly m court Monday. Mattingly ~ppeared stunned, with tears streammg dow.n her face and her arms braced agam~t her seat. as she watched her son bemg led away. "I'm having a hard time believing it" she gaid sobbing as she left the c~urthouse. '

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Ireland, who was 16 years old when '.. 1986. Police said she had been raId, Pelkey was killed, maintains that he repeatedly bludgeoned with a heavy is innocent, his attorney, Public De· instrument and left on the office floor fender I?onaldD. Dakers, said after to die from head injuries. the verdict was announced.. "It's almost like it's a present to Dakers said he will appeal the con- her, that this man is going to pay for viction on the basis of certain rulings what he did to her," said Pelkey's by the judge. mother, Sireta Hatch crying and Pelkey, a 30-year.old married s~eaking slowly in a t~lephone inter· mother of four described as quiet, view fro~ her Wallmgford home hard-working and devoted to her fam· Monday nIght. ily, had been working a night shift The 12-person jury found Ireland alone. in the isolated Capital Drive in- guilty of felony murd~r, first· degree dustnal park. Her battered body was \ sexual assault and thlrd·degree bur· found early on the morning of Sept. 3, ,glary. He faces a minimum sentence

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of 25 years on the felony murder count and a maximum sentence of 85 years on all three convictions, said State's Attorney Michael Dearington. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12. After the verdict Judge Joseph T. Gormley raised Ireland's bail from $300,000 to $500,000. Ireland has been h~ld in sta~e detention facilities since his arrest m August, 1988. Dearington said the investigation into Pelkey's death remains open. The state maintains that Ireland was

Please see Pelkey murder I p.4


o Pelkey nlurde~ov if""

one of three men who entered Pelkey's workplace on the night of the murder. One of the men, named in court as Lee Magoon, has since drowned. The third man, named in court as Max or "Mo" Arizmendi. has never be~n charged in the case. li The jury, made up of eight men and four women, deliberated for a total of 4% hours last Tuesday and Wednes­ day before going home for the Thanksgiving weekend. The jury left the courtroom evenly split on Wednesday. A verdict was reached Monday af­ ter less than four hours of additional deliberation. Robert Staneslow of Cheshire, the jury foreman, called the verdict a "tough decision." "I think the break over Thanksgiv­ ir;;; gave people time to think," said Staneslow, who called the time off a "turning point." Staneslow said there was no single portion of the testimony or evidence that convinced the jury of Ireland's guilt. He said the jury weighed "ev­ erything together, the sum totaL" Dearington said he had been "con­ cerned about the status of things Wednesday," and was "pJea2'lntly sU"prised at the outcome." Dearington said he believed semen found in Pelkey's body was instru­ mental in the guilty verdict. Ireland is a "noll-secretor," a man whose blood type cannot be determined through his semen. About 20 percent of the male pop­ ulation are non-secretors. The semen in Pelkey's body was from a non-se­ cretor, a state police forensic expert had testified. "The evidence was there to convict him," Dearington said of Ireland. "The non-secretor status was some­ thing that couldn't be challenged." Dakers said he would appeal Gorm­ ley's ruling that the defense could not submit as evidence statements made to Wallingford detectives by Edmund Card a Wallingford man quesilonea Tn tre case. Card, who knew Magoon, had implicated Magoon, Ireland and another man in a statement to detec­ tives, but then retracted that statement. "I didn't think there was enough ev­ '~nce for a conviction," said Dakers.

"I was surprised they so quickly came to an agreement. It was an un­ usual case in many ways." Fingerprints taken at the crime scene, hair found there and semen taken from Pelkey's body did not pro­ vide conclusive evidence about who was at the scene, police and forensic experts had testified. Dakers said he had prepared Ire­ land for the possibility of a conviction after the jurors, who appeared grim, broke for an early lunch Monday and advised Gormley that they had nearly achieved a concensus. Ireland had wanted to testify in his own defense, but Dakers decided not to let him take the stand. He stood by that decision Monday. "We can all second-guess our­ selves," said Dakers. "Probably if I had to do it all over again, I would do it the same way." Detective Lt. William Butka of the Wallingford Police Department, who has supervised the investigation from the beginning, said the detectives felt a mixture of relief and strong emotion about the conviction. "There were some times when we didn't ever know if we would make an arrest," said Butka. "But things have a way of working for the good. This was one of the cases where justice fi­ nally prevailed." Dearington and Butka both said their relief and satisfaction over the outcome were tempered by thoughts of Pelkey's family. Pelkey's mother and sisters at­ tended most of the six days of testi­ mony. They sat, quietly listening and often weeping, as witnesses testified that Ireland and Magoon had joked about the killing and had forced Pel­ key to perform a variety of sexual acts with them. "This was one of the more brutal ones in terms of unprovoked murder of a totally innocent person," said Dearington. Staneslow echoed those thoughts as • he described the somber mood in which the jury reflected on the case, which he called "tragic." "It's not a happy situation for any­ one, from beginning to end, including the decision," he said. "It's a sac ~ case and you can't really feel good, no matter what vou do."


Pelkey killer

gives his side

of the ,story

'Ricky' Ireland says the justice system 'let him down ~ By Kim T.

COnley·~N

1 2 199[)

Record·Journal staff

NEW HAVEN - On the eve of his sentencing for the 1986 rape and mur­ der of Bff!l!l'~ Pelke¥. Kenneth 31 , Thursday mam-' "RickY" tarned he it an innocent man con­ victed by a justice system that "let him down." In an interview at the Community Correctional Center in New Haven, where he is being held in lieu of $500.­ 000 bail, Ireland, 20, of Manchester, said he hopes Superior Court Judge Joseph T. Gormley Jr. today will grant a him a new trial instead of sen­ tencing him on charges of felony mur­ der, first-degree sexual assault and third·degree burglary. Ireland faces a maximum of 85 years in prison on the charges. His attorney. Public Defender Don· aid D. Dakers, filed the motion for a new trial Dec. 11, three weeks after a 12-member jury convicted Ireland of raping and killing Barbara Pelkey. "I'm innocent. It really angers me I was convicted for this. Here you got a kid with the utmost respect for the justice system and it totally lets me down," said Ireland, sitting behind bulletproof glass and speaking by telephone in the crowded, noisy visit­ ing area of the Whalley Avenue jail. While he could not remember where he was the night of the killing. Ireland said he "was probably home sleeping" at his father's house on South Colony Road in Wallingford. "I'm scared, I'm mad and I'm hurt," Ireland added, carefully choos· ing words to describe emotions that didn't show in his face. "I never met her in my life."

Kenneth 'Ricky' Ireland: 'I had nothing to do with it.' Pelkey, a 30·year·old married mother of four. lived in Wallingford. She was found the morning of Sept. 3, 1986 lying naked and beaten to death on the floor at the S Mpldive anQ.. Manufacturing factory on Capital Drive in Wallingford, where she worked the night shift alone. During the two·week trial, the state maintained Ireland was one of three men who went to the factory the night before and repeatedly raped Pelkey. then beat her with a wooden factory. mallet. Her body was discovered by co­ worker. One of the three men. I,ee Magoon. • drowned in Lake Beseck in Middle­ field in June 1987. The third man, identified as Max "Mp" Arjzroenw, has never been charged in the case. Speaking to the press for the first time since his arrest in August 1988­ . he also did not testify at his trial ­

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o Ireland interview.: 'I had nothing.to do ~it

Ireland said Thursday that Pelkey's killing was a horrible crime, but that he never knew her or Arizmendi. He did acknowledge knowing Magoon, but said Magoon had never talked to him about the murder. "This lady got killed. It was a vio­ lent crime and I feel bad for her fami­ ly. But if you are not involved, are you going to go to the person's fune-

ral?" Ireland asked directly, his was questioned by police after the brown eyes unwavering. "I had noth­ killing. ing to do with it. I should not have He disputed police accounts that he been implicated."

was a vagrant who lived on the Ireland said he decided to discuss streets of Wallingford. his case publicly because it was his Ireland said that he earned his "last hope for a new trial." Graduate Equivalency Diploma in Ireland said he first learned of Pel­ April 1988 and joined the National key's murder through news accounts Guard a month later. He has spent the last 16 months in and did not hear of it again until he

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jail reading books and studying his case. He cited several passages from his motion for a new trial. The motion claimed that the court erred when it prohibited the defense frqtn present· ing statements which cou.l1f have hurt the state's case. I, "By legal standards, I~t a fair trio ai, but not if you go by h anity standards," Ireland said. 'You might

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think, 'WelI whis so humane about a lady being kilU?, It was a violent and sick crime It must have been very hard for thfamily. But I am not made for jail. It hard on me, too." The state's cal was based largely on circumstanti2evidence, with four witnesses sayiniUlat Ireland talked to them about thkilling. State's witneslS John Card and Mo.rilu Flaler of 'allingford testified that Ireland ancMagoon came to their home two Vleks after the mur­ der and talked ablt their role in the killing. Two othelWitnesses said his statements were ague or acknowl­ edged under crosexamination that they were unsure ,ether Ireland ac­ tually made the st~ments. Fingerprints, haiand semen taken from the crime scet did not provide conclusive evidenc~at Ireland, Ma­ goon or Arizmendi 'ere ever at the scene. In the motion for tbnew trial, Oak­ ers said he was kept'om presenting evidence that John ard's brother, Edmund, gave a SWO\ statement to police on S~pt: 4, 198,that Magoon had made sImilar stat'llents to him the morning after Qle f\rder. Edmund Card later~tracted the statement. and said Mgoon never told him that Magoon ot,reland was involved in Pelkey's slaYlg, the mo­ tion states. By lying to Wallingfor<i)olice, the motion reads, Edmund Cal intended

to protect himself from being ar­ rested in the case. "I tried to do it through the justice system and I got nowhere," Ireland said. the pushed-up sleeves of his grey jail sweatshirt revealing several blue tatoos - a cross and his birth­ date, 11/26/69, on his left arm; and RICK across his right knuckles. Ireland said he was upset' with a presentencing investigation that states he has shown no remorse for the crime. "It's kind of hard to show remorse for something you didn't do," he said, shaking his head. "I feel bad. but l didn't know her." Despite his calm demeanor, Ireland said he has had to work hard to keep his anger in check since he was ar­ rested. "Nerve-wise. I'm strung out. Men­ tally, I'm exhausted," said Ireland, adding he has received a great deal of support from his parents, sister and two step-brothers. While he will be at least 45 years old when he is released from prison - the minimum sentence for felony murder is 25 years - Ireland he said he will appeal the case until his name is cleared. "If I were guilty, I would've went for a plea bargain," Ireland said. "I'm keeping my innocence on this. I'm going to keep fighting this until I die of old age."

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