ROCKY HILL, Conn. (WTNH) -- Violent crimes, in many cases, go unsolved for years. And the wondering about what really happened often makes the tragedy even more devastating for loved ones.
Now State officials hope they've dealt prison inmates a winning hand, as they try to close some of those cold cases.
Billy Smolinski's face was featured in first deck of cards. His mother Janice says it gave her hope it would lead to a break in his disappearance in 2004.
"Did they get any tips with Billy in deck of cards," asked News 8's Erin Cox.
"They did get tips," said Janice Smolinski. "I don't know if any really panned out great, but they did get tips."
Now a new set of cold case cards are available for inmates to buy for 95 cents a deck.
The 10 of spades is Francis Gallo, who was killed in his Shelton home in 1992. Police hope his face and the 51 other faces might spur a prisoner to come clean, as happened with the first deck.
"Many of which lead to solid leads," said Kevin Kane, Chief State's Attorney. "Many resulted in giving new energy to cases that had become stagnant, some lead to arrests, some convictions."
So what would motivate an inmate to see one of the cards and make a call? Many want to make a deal and some have a guilty conscience.
"Believe it or not inmates have consciences too," said Commissioner Leo Arnone. "A lot of people that thought, at times, they want to change."
Billy Smolinski's case is still unsolved, but his mother says new cards bring hope for 52 families who are left wondering.
"I think everything is hopeful," Janice Smolinski said. "It just has that one person to come forward to solve the case. I'm sad to see Billy's picture gone, but I think everyone deserves a chance and now someone else is gonna get that chance to maybe solve their case."
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