Trial Begins For Robert Lee Graham, Charged With Killing Hartford Woman In Summer 2015

Robert Lee Graham, a 62-year-old Hartford man with a long history of violence against women, goes on trial Wednesday in the murder case of Tashauna Jackson, 23, who was killed in August 2015.

Graham, who has been jailed since shortly after Jackson was killed, faces a single charge of murder. He maintains he is innocent.

Hartford detectives focused on Graham in the immediate aftermath of Jackson’s disappearance. She was last seen the evening of Aug. 11, 2015, when she left her mother’s Barbour Street home with Graham.

Jackson’s badly decomposed body was found a week later behind a poultry shop on Granby Street in Bloomfield.

Bloomfield police arrested Graham on Aug. 23, 2015.

Prosecutors Vicki Melchiorre and Richard Rubino will present the state’s case. Public defenders William O’Connor and Sonia Jones represent Graham.

Police said they found Jackson’s blood inside a Honda minivan that Graham owns and that they say he tried to hide behind a relative’s house. Inside the van, police said they found that a section of upholstery had been ripped out.

Graham made several statements to police in the days before Jackson’s body was found and police said they trapped him in several lies. When confronted about those lies, police said Graham had no response, but continued to insist he had nothing to with Jackson’s disappearance or death.

Graham’s criminal record dates to 1972, when he was 16 and he was convicted of robbing a Trinity College student at knifepoint.

He was subsequently convicted of several violent crimes and has served substantial prison sentences.

In January 1983, Graham was charged with brutally stabbing a 17-year-old Hartford girl and leaving her broken body for dead. The young woman survived and Graham pleaded guilty to first-degree assault. He was released from prison in December 1989.

In May 1990, Graham was charged with shooting a woman in the face and convicted of attempted murder. He was sentenced to prison and released in October 2005.

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