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Stamford home invasion trial to begin Monday

November 16, 2018

STAMFORD — The attorney for a Norwalk man accused of holding his former girlfriend captive in an effort to reconcile their relationship says the penalty for his client is too harsh.

Bhaumik Patel, 33, a former software developer, faces up to 75 years in prison if convicted of all charges stemming from the 2015 incident at Woodside Green in Stamford.

Defense attorney Lindy Urso said this case highlights the downside of statutory mandatory minimum sentences. The state Legislature enacted a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for home invasions after the 2007 deadly burglary of the Petit family in Cheshire. Jennifer Hawke Petit and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed during the incident.

“The law was passed in the wake of the Petit case in Cheshire, yet these facts pale in comparison,” Urso said. “It is ludicrous to tie the hands of the professional prosecutors and judges, whose job it is to determine what is just in any given case.”

As a result, Urso said Patel will have a bench trial beginning Monday before Judge Gary White.

“He doesn’t have much of a choice,” Urso said. “The alleged victim is adamant that the prosecutor seek a conviction on the home invasion charge. We think 10 years in jail under the facts of this case would be extremely excessive and we are hoping for a much better result at trial.”

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said he was unable to comment on a pending case.

Patel, who worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland, was arrested Dec. 15, 2015 after police said he admitted letting himself in to the woman’s apartment with a set of keys he had from when they dated. Patel said he waited for her in a vacant bedroom and taped her wrists and mouth when she started to scream, police said.

“Patel appeared to be completely convinced that his behavior during this incident was necessary and that (the ex-girlfriend) would learn a valuable lesson on how to keep herself safe by not treating others poorly,” the police report said.

The 26-year-old woman escaped when she convinced Patel to let her answer a call from her mother, police said.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

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