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DNA be darned, man accused in New London sex assaults wants trial

July 31, 2018

Monte P. White, identified through DNA as the person who broke into the homes of two New London women and raped them at gunpoint in the fall of 2017, told a Superior Court judge Tuesday that he wants a trial, and he wants it soon.

As for the DNA, which police say links him also to a third sexual assault in Torrington, White, 34, says it’s inconclusive.

He is not expected to formally notify the court that he is rejecting a plea offer until his next court date, on Sept. 6, but White stood before Judge Hillary B. Strackbein in his orange prison jumpsuit and handcuffs and told her that’s what he wants. He addressed the court against the advice of his attorney, Matthew G. Berger.

“I’m definitely going for a trial,” he said. “A speedy trial. I’m not taking no offer. We’ll put everything on the table.”

He went on to say there are “rude” things going on with his case, and that the victims can’t even identify him.

“I don’t see why I’m still here,” he said. “I got family waiting for me.”

Prosecutor Theresa Anne Ferryman has made White an undisclosed offer to resolve his New London cases with a guilty plea. Should he be convicted in the New London cases after a trial, he faces up to 140 years in prison for four counts of aggravated first-degree sexual assault, two counts of home invasion and risk of injury to a minor. Police said a child was present during one of the alleged crimes. 

The Torrington case, in which he is charged with aggravated first-degree sexual assault, home invasion, first-degree unlawful restraint and third-degree assault is being tried separately in the Litchfield Judicial District and exposes White to an additional 50 years in prison.

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.

The alleged crimes in New London occurred 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.

Torrington police say DNA linked White to the April 26, 2017, attack on a woman in her High Street home. She, too, was sleeping when she woke to find a man, armed with a knife, in her apartment, police said.

After his courtroom statement Tuesday, Judge Strackbein told White he is entitled to a trial.  A man in the gallery said, “Love you, boy,” and White reciprocated as he was led back to the courthouse holding area. Arrested in December 2017, he is being held in lieu of $1.45 million at the Northern Correctional Institution.

k.florin@theday.com

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