Lawyer For Newington Murder Suspect Suggests Mental Health Defense

A Newington man who police say shot his wife to death then shot himself in the face with a shotgun has been moved from Hartford Hospital to the medical unit at MacDougall-Walker Correction Institution in Suffield, his lawyer said Monday.

Michael C. Torbicki Jr., 45, faces a charge of murder in the shotgun killing of his wife, Patricia Torbicki, 46, inside their home at 52 Gilbert Ave. on Sept. 21.

Torbicki was arraigned Friday in his hospital room. New Britain Superior Court Judge Joan K. Alexander set Torbicki’s bail at $2 million.

Torbicki’s lawyer, Jon Schoenhorn of Hartford, asked for a lower bail and argued that the murder charge does not fit the facts of the incident. A transcript of the arraignment was released Monday.

Schoenhorn said his preliminary investigation of the matter revealed that Patricia Torbicki had moved out of the family home and that the couple was estranged and separated. Days before the incident, and despite the tension in the marriage, he said, Patricia Torbicki moved back into the home. She knew that her husband had hired a divorce lawyer, Schoenhorn told the judge.

According to the warrant for Torbicki’s arrest, a family member told Newington police that Patricia Torbicki returned to the home to avoid a claim during a divorce proceeding that she abandoned the house.

The couple’s 13-year-old son was staying with Patricia Torbicki’s parents at the time of the shootings.

“This case almost cries out that it is, at most, a manslaughter and not murder,” Schoenhorn told the judge.

The judge, citing the seriousness of the charge, left bail at $2 million.

Schoenhorn said Torbicki is a fully disabled veteran of the Marine Corps, served overseas deployments and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

“There is overwhelming evidence of extreme emotional distress. that would make this really a charge of manslaughter and not intentional murder,” Schoenhorn said Monday. “There’s a substantial amount of documented evidence of his fragile mental state.”

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
39°