Wood chipper murderer transferred from prison, moved to homeless shelter for veterans in Bridgeport

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BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Richard Crafts, the notorious wood chipper murderer who was convicted of killing his wife, Helle, in 1986, is out of prison and is living in a homeless shelter for veterans in Bridgeport.

CT State Department of Correction (DOC) told News 8 that Crafts was moved from the Isaiah House halfway house in Bridgeport to a homeless shelter for veterans on Wednesday. The move is part of Crafts’ transition from prison to full release.

He was moved to the halfway house three months ago after serving time in state prisons since Jan. 13, 1987.

Due to laws in effect at that time, prisoners were able to serve significantly less prison time than their sentence, provided the prisoner exhibited good behavior.

The DOC has his maximum release date listed as Aug. 1, 2020. He is expected to be fully released from DOC custody sometime in June.

Crafts, now 82, was found guilty of murdering his wife and was sentenced to a 50-year prison term during a second jury trial — the initial jury was hung.

Richard Crafts of Newton, Conn., center, is led into the Superior Court in Danbury, Conn., Jan. 20, 1987, for a bond hearing.The court refused to reduce the $750,000 bond. He is charged with the murder of his wife Helle Crafts. (AP Photo)

On Nov. 17, 1986, Crafts bought a large freezer. The next day, Nov. 18, his wife was never seen again.

The state said after killing his wife, he froze her body and used a chainsaw to cut it up. To dispose of her remains, he put them through a wood chipper, which he rented on Nov. 20.

Court records state witnesses saw his truck and the wood chipper on a steel bridge in Newtown on that day.

State police later searched that area and found piles of wood chips and an envelope with Helle’s name on it. Inside were pieces of bone, tissue, a human fingernail, and crowns that were on her teeth.

Crafts’ chainsaw and blade were found underwater in that same area. Blood, tissue, and hair fragments from Helle were found on them.

Helle’s mother, Elisabeth Nielsen of Horsholm, Denmark, said her daughter wrote her every two or three weeks. In court, She said all communication stopped on Nov. 17, 1986, after a phone call between the two, the Associated Press reports.

Nielsen said her daughter was unhappy with her marriage and wanted a divorce and that Crafts was ″seemingly not happy about the idea.″

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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