7 Arraigned in 1997 Conn. Slaying
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LITCHFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ Seven people were arraigned Wednesday in what police say was an orchestrated kidnapping, rape and murder of a 13-year-old girl by a group of friends five years ago. An eighth suspect was also arrested in Texas.
The friends, all in their 20s, face charges including conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Maryann Measles.
The girl’s decomposed body was found wrapped in a blanket and chains at Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater on July 15, 1998, nine months after her mother reported her missing.
Investigators told The Hartford Courant they believe the men involved in the killing wanted to silence Measles because she was threatening them with charges of statutory rape. The three arrested women _ who police believe instigated the plot _ wanted revenge because Measles had sex with some of their boyfriends, the newspaper reported.
``It was as horrendous and tragic and savage a crime as I’ve seen in my 31 years as a prosecutor,″ Litchfield State’s Attorney Frank Maco said outside court.
No pleas were entered at the arraignment, and a judge set bail ranging from $1 million to $2 million for the defendants. The eighth defendant, Jeffrey Boyette, 22, of Killen, Texas, was being held in Texas Wednesday on a fugitive warrant.
The victim’s mother, Cindi Measles, said she knew all the suspects and had to endure seeing them in town after her daughter disappeared.
``I think they should die for what they did,″ she said before the court hearing. ``But I think lethal injection is too easy.″
Two of the men are charged with capital felony _ Deaneric Dupas, 27, of Waterbury and Alan Walter, 24, of New Milford _ and Dupas is also charged with first-degree sexual assault.
The five others are June Segar Bates, 22, Maggie Mae Bennett, 23, Keith Foster, 26, and Ronald Rajcok, 29, all of New Milford, and Dorothy Hallas, 22, of Naugatuck. Charges against them include kidnapping, conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with a witness.
Rajcok, Foster and Segar Bates were under suicide watch Wednesday, authorities said.
Attorney Scott Chamberlain, representing Rajcok, declined to comment on the charges.
``Everything starts with a not guilty plea,″ he said. ``Obviously, things have been in the wind for some time.″
Authorities released few details of the investigation and the girl’s death, and the arrest warrant affidavits were sealed.
However, the Courant, citing sources it did not identify, reported Wednesday that one person alleged to be Rajcok picked up Measles at a supermarket parking lot while she sat in a car waiting for her mother to return from a store.
Rajcok then reportedly drove Measles to an isolated area, where Bennett, Seger, Walter, Dupas, Foster and Hallas _ who was Foster’s girlfriend at that time _ were waiting, sources told the newspaper.
The sources said Dupas held Measles down while others raped her in the back of a van, and that afterward Walter strangled her.
The girl had given police a statement about having sex with a 19-year-old and before she disappeared was expected to return and discuss her relationship with a 21-year-old man, her mother said. She said the 19-year-old man was Walter and the 21-year-old man was Foster.
Maryann was well-liked and outgoing at her middle school, but had a reputation for hanging out with older boys, smoking and getting into trouble at school, her mother said.
The Courant reported that the girl had used the threat of statutory rape prosecution to pressure the men with whom she had sex into buying her liquor, cigarettes and drugs and giving her rides to a shopping mall.
Cindi Measles said she had urged her daughter to go to police. She said her daughter told her: ``They are going to kill me, Ma, if they find me.″
``She was terrified, but I didn’t think she literally meant `kill’ her,″ Cindi Measles said. ``I thought she was scared that they’d beat her up.″