MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A Milford man accused of brutally beating his neighbor was back in court Thursday. His plea deal was thrown out last month after public outcry and now he learned his sentence.
When Russel Molleur was in Milford court last month, it was to agree to a simple plea deal. But it turns out supporters of the woman he beat and strangled put photos of her battered face on TV and the internet. The public outcry was one of the reasons that plea got withdrawn.
Thursday, that woman, Lori Wierzbicki, was back in court talking about the man who attacked her.
“He’s a monster,” said Lori Wierzbicki, assault victim
Molleur attacked her in her home last March, almost killing her she says. But Molleur’s lawyer says he is not a monster, he is a mentally disabled man whose mother took care of him until she died five years ago, and then he started drinking.
Molleur had also never been in trouble with the law before. Judge Peter Brown decided to stay with the same four years in prison agreed to last month, and he added two more years of probation, making it five years.
“I wish it was going to be a lot longer because I live like a prison in my own home,” said Wierzbicki.
The Prosecutor saying the sentence is right in line with similar cases.
“This is not an exact science. It’s a difficult job. Victims are not always happy with the ultimate result,” said Charles Stango, Supervising Assistant State’s Attorney.
When Molleur gets out of prison, a protective order prohibits him from going anywhere near Wierzbicki, but she says a piece of paper won’t stop him from finishing the job and killing her. Her brother saying all the publicity did help.
“It’s better than nothing. I would do it all over again, but I don’t feel that the punishment fits the crime. I feel that the charges don’t accurately reflect the brutality of the crime that he committed against my sister,” said Tim McLaughlin, brother.
It may just be a piece of paper, but that protective order signed by the judge Thursday is in effect from now until February of the year 2070.