Accompanied by his attorneys, Richard Lapointe, who had confessed to raping and killing his wife’s elderly grandmother and was sentenced in 1992 to to life in prison without parole, came out of the Hartford Superior Courthouse wearing a T-shirt that said “I didn’t do it” in large letters.
“Of course I didn't do it,” he said, happily as his supporters cheered on. "I feel wonderful."
Last month, the state’s Supreme Court ruled that his original confession to the rape and murder of 88-year-old Bernice Martin was gained after a nearly 10-hour police interrogation and thusly was made under duress. The ruling determined he was not given a fair trial, because the prosecutors did not disclose evidence that supported his alibi at the time. The court ruled Laponte be released or given a new trial, and on Friday Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander order him freed on $25,000 bail.
Lapointe suffers from Dandy-Walker syndrome, a congenital brain malformation that inhibits intellectual and physical development. His supporters claim that, because of this impairment, it would be impossible for the former dishwasher to have committed the crime.
They say that the lengthy police interrogation a quarter of a century ago, in which he likely did not fully understand what was going on, garnered the contentious confession.
Judge Alexander also rejected the prosecutor’s request for Lapointe to wear an ankle bracelet on the grounds that he was a flight risk. Defense attorneys successfully argued the man could barely walk.
Other than craving a nice juicy steak upon release, Lapointe also expressed much surprise that his favorite baseball team the Boston Red Sox had won the world series while he was in prison.
"You gotta be kidding me. They finally got good?” he said.
"He is a relatively simple man of simple needs," Defense Attorney and legal non-profit Centurion Ministries member Paul Casteleiro told the Hartford Courant, "He is supported by a large group of people who have grown up around this case. It is my opinion that he is absolutely innocent and he doesn't represent a threat to anyone."