Civil trial starts today in Fairfield homicide case
Published 10:12 am, Thursday, October 28, 2010
More than three years after he was sent to prison for fatally stabbing his disabled neighbor, who he claimed had molested his daughter, former Fairfield lawyer Jonathon Edington was back in Bridgeport Superior Court on Wednesday to finally face a jury, this time in civil court.
While Edington, who will turn 34 on Friday, agreed to plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter for killing 59-year-old Barry James, he has never shown remorse for the crime. Instead, he continues to contend, despite evidence to the contrary, that he stabbed James nearly a dozen times because he believes that the next-door neighbor had molested his 2-year-old daughter.
James' mother Rita, 91, and father Charles, 95, and sister, Charlene Benoit, are hoping a civil court jury will finally clear Barry's name and give them some vindication.
The trial was to get under way Thursday before Superior Court Judge Kari Dooley.
Edington, serving a 12-year prison term for James' death, was dressed in prison khakis during Wednesday's proceeding and guarded by two judicial marshals. He said he intends to testify during the trial.
Police said the Edingtons, who were renting a house on Colony Street in Fairfield next door to the James' home, were vacationing in Rhode Island with family on Aug. 28, 2006, when Jonathan Edington returned home before his wife and two children. Police said when Edington got home he received a call from his wife who told him their daughter, who was 2 years old at the time, had just told her that she had been abused by James in their home and in his car.
Edington, apparently enraged by the call, ran to the James home and leaped through the first-floor bedroom window of Barry James and stabbed him to death in front of James' mother.
During a hearing earlier Wednesday, Edington told the judge he still contends James molested his daughter and that he was "temporarily insane," when he killed the man.
However, an extensive investigation of the claim by Fairfield police found that it was improbable that James, who could only walk with assistance, could have hoisted himself the 4 feet to crawl through the window of Edington's home and sneak into the girl's bedroom. Police said a forensic interviewer who talked to Edington's daughter found no evidence the girl had been abused by James.
The Edington family later had the girl interviewed by a child psychologist who they claim did determine the girl had been molested. But Dooley refused to allow the jury in this case to hear testimony from that psychologist because of the amount of time that had passed between the crime and the interview.