Cromwell man pleads no contest in court threatening case
A 53-year-old man who is serving an 18-month prison sentence for threatening to shoot a family court judge pleaded no contest Wednesday in New London Superior Court to making online threats to kill employees and judges at the state courthouse in Middletown.
Edward F. “Ted” Taupier of Cromwell was sentenced to four months in prison followed by three years probation for five counts of second-degree threatening.
According to court documents and testimony, Taupier made posts on Facebook in January 2017 in which he threatened to “kill court employees and save the country,” said it was “time to burn down the courthouse” and commented that police “would be in bodybags next time they come without a warrant.”
The posts were brought to the attention of staff at the Middletown courthouse, who contacted state police. Following Taupier’s arrest, the case was transferred to New London to remove it from the jurisdiction of the staff members involved.
Taupier and his attorney, Norman A. Pattis, contend all of his speech is protected by the First Amendment. Pattis in January argued Taupier’s appeal of the first conviction to the state Supreme Court. A decision is pending.
Jury selection was set to begin Wednesday in the case involving Middletown court staff when Pattis and prosecutor David J. Smith worked out a plea agreement involving a sentence of five years in prison, suspended after four months served, followed by three years of probation.
The prison term will run concurrently with Taupier’s current sentence, from which he is scheduled to be released Dec. 26, and will enable Taupier to be more involved in the lives of his two children.
“Mr. Taupier has had a very difficult and disappointing run with the family courts,” Pattis said.
The case before the Supreme Court involves threatening statements Taupier made about Judge Elizabeth A. Bozzuto, who was presiding over Taupier’s divorce case. In August 2014, Taupier sent an email to other family court critics detailing where Bozzuto lived with her children and the distance between her home’s master bedroom and a cemetery that “provides cover and concealment.”
“They can steal my kids from my cold dead bleeding cordite fists .. as my 60 round mag falls to the floor and I’m dying as I change out to the next 30 rounds,” he wrote.
Taupier claimed he was just venting, and that the email was never intended to reach Bozzuto. One of the recipients was alarmed and shared the email, leading to a state police investigation and Taupier’s arrest.
State police said they seized from Taupier’s home 15 firearms, including four capable of striking a target at long range, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition. Taupier had a valid pistol permit but had been ordered to turn over his guns to a designated person during the contentious divorce proceedings, according to court documents. Taupier had turned over 13 guns to a Harwinton man in March 2013 but retrieved six of them in August 2014.
Taupier had opted to have his the case involving Bozzuto tried before a judge rather than a jury. Judge David P. Gold heard the case at the Middletown courthouse and found Taupier guilty of first-degree threatening, two counts of disorderly conduct and second-degree breach of peace. Gold indicated in his decision that Taupier’s email was a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of violence to Judge Bozzuto.
Gold sentenced Taupier to 18 months in prison. Taupier was free on an appeal bond when he was charged with threatening the Middletown court staff.
Taupier still has matters pending in Middletown. As she sentenced him Wednesday, Judge Karyl L. Carrasquilla ordered him to have no contact with the victims and told Taupier that while on probation, he could show up at the courthouse without notice only if he has a scheduled court date. Otherwise, the judge said, Taupier is required to notify the Department of Adult Probation 96 hours before he intends to file any papers or pleadings in court. The judge also ordered Taupier to comply with any treatment recommended by the probation department.