NEW LONDON—Leslie Buck told police that Kirby shocked her with a stun gun, grabbed her by the neck, punched her in the stomach and pushed her to the ground. He tied her hands and feet and drove her to his house in her vehicle, according to her comments on the 911 tape. She said Kirby told her he needed $10,000.
A Stonington police officer testified that Kirby confessed to the kidnapping and said he did it because "he needed the money.''
The prosecutor, State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane, showed jurors the contents of a satchel belonging to Kirby that police found inside the vehicle used for the abduction. Those items included stun guns, rope, gloves, and a .45-caliber handgun.
During the trial, Kirby told the jury that he needed the items in his satchel to fend off a surly dog that had been harassing him at a job site. On the night of May 2, 2002, Kirby said, he went to the Bucks' Mystic home looking for help after his pickup broke down about a mile from their house.
Leslie Buck was upset with her husband for paying Kirby nearly $800 from their personal bank account -- pay Charles Buck usually took from the account of his electrical contracting business, Kirby testified. Donovan argued that Leslie Buck's anger was intensified because she, a sophisticated, well-dressed woman who lived in an affluent area, was uncomfortable around Kirby, a loner whom she described to friends as "strange'' and "odd.''
Kirby claimed that Leslie Buck became hysterical when the two encountered each other, and that his actions, including using the stun gun and tying her hands, were taken in self-defense.
Kirby, who appeared in court with a long, graying beard, retired in 1996 from Electric Boat, where he worked as an inspector. Commercial diving, welding and vehicle mechanics are just a few of the areas he specialized in.
He did not react to Tuesday's verdict.
"He's demonstrated a good deal of grace under pressure,'' Donovan said. "He wasn't overly emotional about it.''
Donovan said Kirby was misunderstood in the Bucks' world.
"He's one of those fellows who keeps the world going, but who in the company of sophisticated and educated women, just wouldn't know what to say,'' Donovan said.
Detectives said they hope Kirby will help keep their investigation into Leslie Buck's death going. Kirby was in police custody at the time of Buck's death, but they believe he may know something about it. Though he has yet to say anything indicating he may have information about her death, investigators said they hope Tuesday's conviction may push Kirby, who has described himself as "the best friend'' of Charles Buck, to talk.
"At some point in time we will try to have a conversation with Mr. Kirby,'' Stonington Detective Sgt. David Knowles said after the verdict. "You can call this trial what you want, say chapter one, and say now that we're heading into the next chapter of this case. This is not a closed case. We're not going to rest. I'm not going to rest. I know there's more out there. We just have to find it.''
When contacted late Tuesday, jurors said they had made an agreement not to talk to the media about their deliberations.
Judge Stuart M. Schimelman is scheduled to sentence Kirby on Aug. 27.