Man faces 3 years for 21-year-old murder
BRIDGEPORT - After waiting 21 years to be arrested for murder, Camillo Douglas will only have to serve three years in prison.
The jury had been selected, witnesses, some who had long retired, were in court to testify when Douglas agreed to accept a plea deal.
He had been charged with murder in the Feb. 3, 1997 shooting death of Richard “Red” Salito.
Salito, 23, of Marion Street, was found lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk at the intersection of Capitol and Whitney avenues. He had been shot multiple times in the head, according to the autopsy report.
Under the deal, the 37-year-old Douglas pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm.
Judge Robert Devlin told Douglas he will sentence him on Jan. 25 to 20 years in prison but give him credit back to September 2001 and make it concurrent to a two-year prison term Douglas has left in New York.
Douglas’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Jared Millbrandt, said the sentence means that his client will serve about three years in prison.
Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Ann Lawlor told the judge that Salito’s father and sister, who were not in the courtroom, are not happy with the deal. But she continued that based on a “significant legal issue” regarding the delay in which Douglas was served with the arrest warrant and the fact he was 15 when he committed the crime, “this is a fair and just disposition.”
Millbrandt said he was prepared to argue that the case should be dismissed against Douglas. He said the murder warrant was signed by a judge here in September 2001, but Douglas was not notified of it until earlier this year while serving the remainder of a 15-year prison term in New York for a gang-related shooting.
Millbrandt said Douglas was in the process of being deported to his native Jamaica when New York officials were made aware of the Bridgeport warrant.
“Our claim was that the delay in advising Mr. Douglas that there was a warrant was a violation of his due process and sixth amendment rights to a speedy trial,” Millbrandt said. “The Bridgeport police knew where he was and could offer no compelling reason as to why this amount of time had passed.”
Police Capt. Brian Fitzgerald said there were issues in the case that were not in their control. He did not elaborate.
“I’m just happy the case has been put to rest,” Fitzgerald said.