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Casey Chadwick’s Uneasy Life after Death

Casey and her mother Wendy

"I just started grief counseling. I'm always sad. I'm sad and in pain and I miss her." Wendy Hartling

 Hartling is the mother of Casey Chadwick, murdered in 2015 by Jean Jacques, an illegal Haitian immigrant. Jacques was convicted of the murder of Chadwick in a New London Superior Court jury trial and sentenced by Judge Barbara Bailey Jongbloed to a 60 year term in prison. Since Jacques is 44 years of age, the sentence was, in effect, a life sentence. Connecticut Commentary coverage of the Chadwick murder may be found here, and here and here. Jacques could not have been sentenced to death because Connecticut’s Democrat dominated General Assembly, under pressure from the state Supreme Court, had abolished Connecticut’s death penalty law in 2012.

The slaughter of Chadwick was particularly brutal. Her body had been found by a friend who, opening a door to a closet, discovered Chadwick stuffed in a dark corner drenched in blood. At Jacques’ trial, a medical examiner would later tell the jury how she died. Jacques had slashed and stabbed Ms. Chadwick 15 times. A severed jugular vein and carotid artery caused her to lose 40 percent of her blood within seconds of the attack.

Jacques had earlier been deported to his native Haiti. A subsequent illegal entry led him to prison, where he served a 15 year term after he had been convicted of attempted murder. The illegal alien should have been deported back to Haiti upon his release from prison, because the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had issued a detainer, but Haiti claimed it could not certify that Jacques was a citizen of that country, documentation having been lost. So he was let loose in Connecticut, after which he murdered Chadwick with an assault knife, here defined as any knife used in a murderous assault.

Chadwick’s mother, Wendy Hartling, was introduced by radio talk show host Lori Hopkins Cavanaugh to U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal following a presentation at the Legislative Office Building, and Blumenthal did what senators usually do: He wrote a bill, The Remedies for Refusal of Repatriation Act, also called “Casey’s Law” that would, when passed into law by the Congress, punish all countries that refused to accept the return of illegal aliens by denying visas to such countries.

Blumenthal, joined by U. S. Senator Chris Murphy and U. S. Representative Joe Courtney, noted at the time in a media release issued through Blumenthal’s office: “We are pleased that the Office of the Inspector General has heeded our call and will now conduct a thorough, independent inquiry of this deeply troubling case. It is unacceptable that ICE failed to remove a convicted attempted murderer subject to a final deportation order— a measure that would have saved the life of Casey Chadwick. ICE’s responses thus far to our repeated inquiries into this case have been incomplete and unsatisfactory, and we hope that this independent inquiry will finally uncover the facts surrounding this tragedy, enabling reforms necessary to ensure that this never happens again.”

Separately, Murphy noted, “The family of Casey Chadwick and the community of Norwich know all too well the pain and suffering that comes when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fails to deport criminals. Our bill will help make sure that the Department of Homeland Security can repatriate dangerous individuals. Casey Chadwick’s brutal murder demands accountability, and this bill is an important step forward.”

Cars stuck in neutral cannot move forward, and Casey’s Law has been stuck in neutral in the U.S. Congress ever since its promulgation. The last action on the bill was a referral in May 2019 to the Judiciary Committee. A second investigative report from the Inspector General is, apparently, still in process. Jacques was held responsible by the jury and court that found him guilty of brutally murdering Chadwick, but the Malloy State Supreme Court – the former governor had appointed 6 of the 7 Justices on the court -- has recently vacated the jury’s finding on technical grounds.

In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that two pieces of evidence – some drugs and a cell phone, both hidden in a wall – that had been presented at trial should not have been admitted because a landlord-tenant law “indicates that Jacques still had the expectation of privacy at his apartment even though he was incarcerated and had not paid the rent that was due five days before the search.”

And never mind that investigating officers,  who saw the evidence  following a tip from Jacques’ cellmate, left and obtained a search and seizure warrant” “once they saw the items in the wall,” according to a report in The Day of New London.
concurring opinion we are told, “notes that the evidence against Jacques was overwhelming even without the drugs and cellphone.” The concurrence also “discusses whether Jacques' status as a parolee is significant, noting there wasn't enough information in the record to make that determination. Most significantly, the state presented evidence that the defendant's blood was on the victim's living room floor and on her kitchen wall.”  And, as we all know, blood has a voice.

Naturally, the mother of the Casey Chadwick brutally slain by Jacques, failing to understand the niceties around which State Supreme Court decisions swing, cannot understand 1) why Jacques was not deported by ICE as soon as he was released from prison, still to be definitively determined, 2) why Casey’s Law is still inoperative, and 3) why her daughter had fallen into the hands of murderers and incompetents, leaving her alone with her suppressed tears in despair.  "I just started grief counseling. I'm always sad. I'm sad and in pain and I miss her."


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