Friday, June 17, 2005

Courts are a popularity contest

Whoever has the most political connections wins no matter the evidence or the type of case, over and over and over.

Donna Bochicchio in a 1980 picture, slain wife of Connecticut State Police Officer, Michael Bocchicchio shot by her husband 4 times on a Connecticut court's steps Posted by Hello

Waterbury Attorney Julie Porzio, a Connecticut woman with many political, powerful family, and corporate connections Posted by Hello

Michael Bochicchio, a retired Major in the Connecticut State Police Posted by Hello

Workers: Wife Feared Husband
Victim Had Sought Escorts From Court During Divorce Trial
June 17, 2005
By ALAINE GRIFFIN, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN (Connecticut) -- Fearing the anger of her husband, judicial marshals escorted Donna Bochicchio and her attorney, Julie Porzio, out of court on at least three occasions during Bochicchio's contentious divorce trial, courthouse workers said Thursday.

That recollection and others of Bochicchio and her estranged husband, Michael, were on the minds of court workers Thursday, a day after Michael Bochicchio Jr. killed his wife and seriously wounded Porzio before fatally shooting himself in a parking lot outside Superior Court.

The couple was scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for the 12th day of their divorce trial, likely the final round of what had been a bitter two-year legal battle that Michael Bochicchio stood to lose.

Autopsy results released Thursday confirmed that Donna Bochicchio, 42, of Harwinton, died from multiple gunshot wounds. Law enforcement sources said she was shot twice in the torso, and once in the head and neck. She died in the parking lot shortly after the shooting.

The state medical examiner's office also confirmed Thursday that Torrington resident Michael Bochicchio, 47, a retired state police trooper, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to his head. Family members removed him from life-support Wednesday night.

Porzio, of Waterbury, was in serious but stable condition Thursday night at Hartford Hospital, and in a written statement, thanked colleagues for their support.

"My family and I have been overwhelmed with offers of support. We are all grateful for the support we continue to receive from friends and colleagues. We are touched by their concern and generosity," the statement says.

Porzio, who was seated in the car next to Donna Bochicchio when her husband opened fire, was hit with four shots, according to her brother, Thomas Porzio. He said she was shot once in each shoulder, a third shot grazed her face and mangled her left ear, and a fourth shot shattered the bones in her right hand. She underwent surgery today, her brother said, and she could be home early next week if all goes well.

A bank account in Porzio's name was set up at Wachovia Bank in Waterbury on Thursday for contributions to help with her medical costs and other expenses. The fund was created in response to "the outpouring of offers of support from people across the state," her statement said. Porzio is the wife of former Waterbury Mayor Joseph Santopietro.

Capt. Christopher Barrow, head of Middletown police detectives, said officers planned to talk to Porzio Thursday in an effort to learn more about Wednesday's shooting.

"The investigation is beginning to wind down, but we still want to talk to her about what occurred," Barrow said. Police confirmed that the .40-caliber Glock handgun used in the shooting was Bochicchio's own registered weapon and not a service firearm he used for his job as a federal court security officer.

Bochicchio was employed by Akal Security Inc., a company based in Espanola, N.M., that has a contract with the federal government to provide security at Connecticut federal courthouses, Deputy U.S. Marshal Gary Dorsey said.

Barrow said Bochicchio did not leave a suicide note. Though detectives are still poring through court files for a clear motive for the shooting, police believe the act was the result of the bitter court proceedings.

Hearings last year in Superior Court in Litchfield exposed a couple consumed with bitterness, jealousy and anger about their children, money and sex. The case had grown so ugly it could not be mediated and was transferred out of Litchfield to Middletown's special family court unit. The case was heard in Middletown on days in April, May and June and was scheduled to resume Wednesday.

Courthouse sources familiar with the divorce trial said Michael Bochicchio was always pleasant to the staff but didn't hesitate to get nasty with his wife in the courtroom. His wife, one source said, "put on a good face," but was clearly fearful of her husband's anger.

That fear prompted requests from Porzio that judicial marshals escort them to the parking lot at the end of the court day so they would have security until they got in their vehicles, sources said.

Michael Kokoszka, chief court clerk in Middletown, said Wednesday's shooting had a keen effect on those workers who were part of the divorce case, those who got to know the Bochicchios, even if it was just through casual exchanges.

"You obviously get to know these people sitting through the trial each day and you never expect anything like that to happen," Kokoszka said.

Talking in hallways and offices about the shooting and the Bochicchios, bringing flowers and holding a moment of silence at the shooting site were all part of the healing process at the courthouse Thursday.

Several employees found it difficult to concentrate long enough to draft simple memos. Others said they had trouble sleeping Wednesday night. About 25 court employees and judges attended a counseling session Wednesday where each person had the option of discussing the incident.

"It gave us a chance to talk about it, a tragic event that was so close to us, in a safe and respectful environment," Kokoszka said.Two employees witnessed the shootings from an office window that looked directly out to the crime scene.

"I can't even imagine how they must feel," Kokoszka said. "But they're holding up well. We're a close community here. We're like a family and in times like this, family comes together."

Kokoszka said he was impressed with the staff for resuming work so quickly after the nearly hour-long lockdown at the courthouse Wednesday.

While many have said they will never forget what happened, Kokoszka said the employees are moving ahead with their lives. And they're doing this, Kokoszka said, with the knowledge that there is the potential for violence at a courthouse.

"It's not something any of us take for granted," Kokoszka said.

Courant Staff Writer Bill Leukhardt contributed to this story.

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Reasons to Abolish the Connecticut State Police

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Blogger Cloud_Writer said...

I really feel the pain of Donna's fear. I am so thankful that the children were not killed. Earlier this month, Deputy Terry, an Orange County (Florida) Deputy killed himself and his kids. His wife Leigh Ann was afraid but no one took it seriously. I live in Tacoma, where our police chief shot and killed his wife Crystal before killing himself. In California this year Riverside County Investigating Detective McGowan shot his wife, his mother, and his three children before killing himself. I really (really) could go on and on -- but what's needed is help. Help for victims. Help for officers. Help for law enforcement agencies. Clear, specific, and effective policies to follow when an officer is involved in domestic violence allegations.

Washington has enacted an officer-involved law mandating every law enforcement agency has to have a policy that meets certain standards. And now there are people working to take it to a national level. All 10 of our state congressional representatives have signed on in support.

cloud_writer @

Thursday, October 27, 2005 1:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

police & lawyers deserve each other

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 4:40:00 AM  
Blogger The Stark Raving Viking said... links for all my posts no longer go to posts intended.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was their any discussion of Porzio's crooked husband and using her 'saving the world' legal approach as a smoke and mirrors to that lovely angle in her life.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 7:57:00 PM  

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