Man accused in New London rapes headed to trial
A 34-year-old man accused of breaking into the homes of two New London women and raping them at gunpoint in the fall of 2017 rejected an offer Thursday in Superior Court to plead guilty in exchange for a 20-year prison sentence.
Monte P. White is expected to go on trial within the next month.
White turned down the state’s offer of 40 years in prison, suspended after 20 years served, followed by five years of probation during his appearance Thursday in New London Superior Court. At his request, his attorney, Matthew G. Berger, promptly handed the court clerk a motion for a speedy trial. Under state law, defendants who have been incarcerated for eight months or longer have the right to a trial within 30 days of filing such a motion. He has been held at the Northern Correctional Institution since December 2017.
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein granted the speedy trial motion and told Berger and prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman to meet with the trial judge, Barbara Bailey Jongbloed, immediately to discuss scheduling. Strackbein questioned White to ensure he understands that by turning down the state’s plea offer he now faces up 120 years in prison for the sexual assault cases and another 45 years for unrelated drug charges, if convicted.
“With the evidence I see, and I’ve been going over it, there’s no way I can take 20 years,” White told the judge.
New London police say their case against White includes DNA linking him to violent sexual assaults of women in their homes on Hawthorne Drive in October 2017 and Nautilus Drive in November 2017. Both women said they were awakened by a man in their bedroom who held a gun to the back of their head and sexually assaulted them. Fingerprint impressions lifted from a sliding glass door also implicated White in the Nautilus Drive crime, police said.
Police said DNA swabs taken during a forensic examination of the female victims matched DNA from White, whose genetic material is in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database. DNA samples are taken from all convicted felons in Connecticut, and White pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession charge in 2010.
He is charged with two counts of home invasion, three counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, since police say a child was present during one of the attacks.
White also is charged with a similar crime in Torrington, which is being tried separately and also involved DNA evidence, according to police.
The state had intended to try White first on pending drug charges. Berger said he had not received evidence requested from the state in that case and would be researching whether the case could be tried before the case in which the defendant filed the speedy trial motion.
Working with Waterford police and the Statewide Narcotics Task Force during the month of November 2017, New London Police built a case against White for selling crack cocaine three times to a confidential informant who knew him as “Lucky,” according to the affidavit. Police said White drove a 2001 Mercedes CLK 430 that was dark red for a long time but recently had been wrapped to appear black.
Police arrested White on the drug charges on Dec. 1 and in the following days received notification of a DNA “hit” linking White’s DNA to both of the New London attacks and the Torrington crime.