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Man Accused of Trying To Sell His Children Set Free

June 28, 1995

MILFORD, Conn. (AP) _ A man arrested for allegedly trying to sell his two children to a passerby was freed Tuesday after a prosecutor said the man’s accuser had a history of making false claims.

``The state will not be able to meet the burden of proof,″ Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Gaetano said of the case against James M. Grizzle of Woodstock, Ga. He added that Grizzle’s accuser, Connie Webber of Dubuque, Iowa, has disappeared and has charges of filing a false claim and failing to appear in court pending against her in Iowa.

``Her credibility is in doubt. Her whereabouts are unknown. She has an extensive history of filing false claims in her home state,″ Gaetano said.

Grizzle, 32, did plead guilty to one count of disorderly conduct that was lodged after police said he tried to strike an officer and kick others while in custody.

``I was really upset,″ he told Superior Court Judge Leonard M. Cocco.

``I know. I know,″ said Cocco, who sentenced him to 60 days and suspended all but the 17 he had been jailed since his arrest.

Grizzle was originally charged with child abandonment and risk of injury to a minor, and held on $50,000 and later $5,000 bond.

He was arrested June 10 after Webber told police he called out to her from a beat-up van as she crossed a street, offering to sell her his 4-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

Police found him and the children about a mile away at a McDonald’s restaurant. He denied trying to sell his children, saying he had pawned his tool box to buy them food.

``The court is very disturbed because of the false statement made by this woman,″ Cocco said. ``I hope the state can get her back for her dose of justice, which she is really due.″

After Grizzle’s arrest, the state turned the children over to their mother, Esther Jean Frey of Ossipee, N.H. She got a New Hampshire court order banning Grizzle from seeing her or the children.

Grizzle said Frey got the order based on the child-selling charges, and he asked Cocco for a statement clearing him so he could fight it.

Cocco ordered the state to pay for a copy of his court’s transcripts.

``The state owes you at least that much,″ he said.

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