Judge allows limits on info from Newtown warrants
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Some information will be blacked out from search warrants in the Newtown school shooting that were due to be released Thursday with the expiration of an order that kept them sealed, a judge ruled.
State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, who is overseeing the investigation into the Dec. 14 massacre, asked a judge not to release the name of a witness, saying the person’s safety may be jeopardized if the name were disclosed. He also asked that other information be redacted, such as telephone numbers, serial numbers on items found and a few paragraphs of an affidavit.
The prosecutor’s motions were approved by a Danbury Superior Court judge, clerk Geoffrey Stowell said.
The search warrants could provide a glimpse into the world of the 20-year-old gunman, Adam Lanza, who killed his mother inside their Newtown home before massacring 26 people including 20 first-graders, at the school Dec. 14. He then committed suicide.
The investigation into the mass shooting is not expected to be finished until June, but prosecutors were expected to release additional information to the public about the investigation in a statement Thursday. The warrants, which are related to searches of Lanza’s home and his car, have been under a sealing order that was due to expire Wednesday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced last week that additional information would be released at his request. Malloy expressed concern that certain information about the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School disclosed by a top state police commander at a recent law enforcement seminar in New Orleans was leaked.
“Like many others, I was disappointed and angered to learn that certain information about the Newtown shooting had been leaked, specifically with concern for the victims’ families who may have been hearing this news for the first time,” the governor said in a statement.
A column published last week in the New York Daily News, citing an unnamed police officer who attended the seminar, reported that Col. Daniel Stebbins discussed evidence that suggested the Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, studied other mass slayings and dedicated extensive planning to the rampage that left 20 first-graders and six educators dead. Lanza also killed his mother and later committed suicide.
The seminar was designed for law enforcement professionals only and sensitive information dealing with the tactical approaches used by first responders to the Sandy Hook shootings was discussed, state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said.
Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr. said this week that legislative leaders hope to review the search warrant documents before finishing work on a bipartisan bill that addresses gun control and other issues related to the massacre.
A judge denied a motion by The Associated Press and five newspapers seeking to intervene against any move to extend the current 90-day seal of the warrants. Sedensky had said earlier that the request to intervene was premature because the state hasn’t filed any further requests.