Sherman murder case continued so evidence can be gathered

May 8, 2019

DANBURY — Dressed in a beige prison jumpsuit, the Sherman man accused of murdering his husband in a drunken rage appeared in court Wednesday.

James Maharg, 65, stood before the court — shoulders slightly slumped — with his attorney, John T. Walkley, by his side as Judge Ronald Kowalski accepted the defendant’s motion to extend the time limit for a hearing for probable cause to June 27.

“We’re still waiting for discovery,” Walkley said. “We don’t even have an autopsy at this stage yet.”

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Mabbett raised no objections, stating that “the state is still in the process of obtaining information provided to counsel.”

The state is still awaiting information from the Medical Examiner’s Office, Mabbett said, and it might be a couple weeks until it sees that information.

“Once we receive that information, then counsel can make a determination at that point if we want to proceed with a second autopsy,” Mabbett said.

The judge also agreed to exclude the additional time for discovery from the court’s calculations.

Maharg is charged with murdering his 63-year-old husband, Thomas Conley, and tampering with evidence.

It all started March 19, when Maharg called 911 and said, “My husband is dead.”

State troopers responded to the predawn call and found empty tequila bottles in the couple’s house, as well as Conley’s already-cold dead body.

“(State police) observed that (Conley) was lying naked against the wall at the bottom of the staircase and had two wounds to the top of his scalp, the more pronounced of the two being a gaping gash approximately two inches wide and four inches long,” reads the arrest warrant.

The official cause of death from the Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner’s Office was “chop wounds.”

Maharg and his husband had been drinking tequila all day — as the two had done habitually since mid-December, when they stopped tending to their failing Manhattan business, police said.

“The victim walked into the kitchen and said something nasty to Maharg, and Maharg pushed the victim’s chest, causing him to fall backward into the kitchen cabinet shelf,” the warrant reads.

“Maharg stated he must have struck the victim in the head at some point during this time, however he could not provide us with the object or the exact time frame,” the warrant says. “[He] stressed he must have struck him in the head with a significant object to create the large gash.”

Maharg was arraigned March 22 in Waterbury Hospital, where he was undergoing detoxification treatment and on suicide watch, according to his arrest file.

He is currently being held at the Bridgeport Correctional Facility.

June 27 is Maharg’s next scheduled appearance at Danbury Superior Court.