ROCKVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) — The Ellington man convicted in the 2015 shooting death of his wife was sentenced on Thursday.
A judge sentenced Richard Dabate to a total of 65 years in prison without the possibility of parole — 60 years for murder and 5 years for tampering with evidence. He was also sentenced to one year for making a false statement to authorities, which will be served concurrently.
Back in May, a jury found Dabate guilty on all three charges — murder, tampering with evidence, and making a false statement to authorities — following a five-week trial and on the second day of deliberations in a case built partly on evidence provided by Connie Dabate’s Fitbit activity tracker.
“I just feel like this surge from up above, the strength coming to me right now for all of us. She’s here,” said Cindy Margotta, Connie’s mother.
It’s the day that family and friends of Connie have been waiting for.
“It enables us to get a little bit of closure, even though it won’t bring Connie back. As a family, we can move forward,” said Keith Margotta, Connie’s brother.
Dabate plotted to kill his wife and stage a home invasion as his life was about to unravel with the birth of a child he was having with another woman, prosecutors said.
Dabate has maintained his innocence and testified that a large masked man dressed in camouflage shot his wife and tied him up at the couple’s Ellington home.
Prosecutors argued that evidence from the Fitbit worn by Connie undermined Dabate’s story and showed she was moving around an hour after he said she was killed.
News 8’s Eva Zymaris was inside the courtroom when the judge handed down the sentence. She also spoke with Connie’s friends and family members outside the courthouse. After sentencing, Dabate’s defense team reiterated that they will appeal the verdict.
“It’s been an extremely long journey. It’s been an extremely long, painful journey and we’re so happy justice has finally been served,” said Kim Phillips, Connie’s Friend.
Richard has maintained from that start that he is innocent of the crime.
“As Rick Dabate said in the court today, he is completely steadfast in his innocence and dedicated to proving his innocence,” said Attorney Trent Lalima, Dabate’s legal team.
His legal team has filed motions for acquittal and a new trial, but at court on Thursday, the judge denied those motions.
“We are going to continue to fight with an appeal. We look forward to continuing to fight for Rick Dabate. We are confident in the end, that Rick Dabate will prevail,” Lalima said.
Before the sentencing, family and friends on both sides read impact statements, sharing the lasting effects of Connie’s death. They also shared stories of Connie, saying how much she will be missed and the void they feel in their lives.