September 12, 2016
from Superior Court, judicial district of New Britain,
W. Falk, assigned counsel, for the appellant (defendant).
N. Feldman, special deputy assistant state's attorney,
with whom, on the brief, was Brian Preleski, state's
attorney, for the appellee (state).
DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Pellegrino, Js.
DiPENTIMA, C. J.
defendant, Richard Campbell, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a court trial, of attempt to
commit murder in violation of General Statutes §§
53a-49 (a) (2) and 53a-54a (a), and risk of injury to a child
in violation of General Statutes § 53-21 (a)
On appeal, the defendant claims that the court's
rejection of the affirmative defense of mental disease or
defect, otherwise known as the insanity defense, was not
reasonably supported by the evidence. We affirm the judgment of
one month after the trial, the court orally rendered its
factual findings and legal conclusions in open court. The
defendant was a forty-four year old male and a lifelong
friend of T.C. On or about July 27, 2013, T.C. invited
several friends to her home to celebrate her birthday. The
party began in the early afternoon, and the defendant was
present. The defendant left the party sometime in the
afternoon, and T.C. was unaware of his whereabouts.
defendant eventually returned the same day and, although T.C.
testified that the defendant appeared ‘‘a little
tipsy, '' he appeared to be in control of his
actions. Upon the defendant's return, T.C. suggested that
the defendant take a nap in an upstairs bedroom, and he did
so. After the guests departed, the defendant came downstairs
and asked whether he could stay the night.T.C. agreed and
allowed the defendant to use her child's
bedroom. After this conversation, the defendant,
T.C., and her child retired to their respective
early morning of July 28, 2013, T.C. was awoken by several
blows to her head. The defendant struck T.C. repeatedly over
the head with a hammer and told her he was going to kill
During this encounter, T.C.'s six year old child was in
the bed next to her. T.C. demanded that the defendant stop,
but he did not. She eventually escaped from the room and
asked her child to call 911. The defendant then told the
child, ‘‘if you call 911, I will kill you
too.'' During T.C.'s initial escape, she
reached the stairs but was pushed down them by the defendant.
Injured and at the bottom of the stairs, T.C. attempted to
reach the front door, but the defendant threw her on the
couch. The defendant straddled T.C. and again repeatedly
struck her with the hammer. She eventually broke free, exited
her home through the back door, and ran to her neighbor's
house. An ambulance was called and responded to her
neighbor's house, and T.C. was taken to the hospital.
Britain police Officers Gregory Harkins and Brian Shea were
dispatched to T.C.'s street. En route, the officers
observed the defendant in the street wearing only boxer
shorts and moccasins with what appeared to be blood covering
his body. The officers ‘‘smelt an odor of
alcoholic beverage emanating from his person'' and,
when questioned, the defendant indicated that he had consumed
officers called for an ambulance, and the defendant was
transported to the Hospital of Central Connecticut (hospital)
for observation. Christopher Yergen, a physician, assessed
and treated the defendant, and noted in his records the
defendant's recollection of what happened earlier that
morning. After further observation and assessment, the
defendant was released the following day from the hospital to
the custody of the New Britain Police Department.
defendant then was interviewed by Detective Michael Steele
following a voluntary waiver of his Miranda rights.
The defendant at that time stated that he recalled standing
over the victim's bed then blacking out, seeing the
victim bleeding and crying, and admitted that he struck her
with a hammer but could not recall why he did it. The
defendant also recalled having ‘‘words''
with the victim and believed that he was
‘‘physically hitting her but not
defendant subsequently was charged with the attempted murder
of T.C. and risk of injury to her child. The defendant
elected to be tried by the court and raised the affirmative
defense of mental disease or defect. At the conclusion of
trial, the court found the defendant guilty, on both counts,
beyond a reasonable doubt and that ‘‘the
defendant has not sustained his burden of proof [by a]
preponderance of the evidence for this [affirmative] defense
. . . that he had a mental disease or defect . . . [and] as a
result he lack[ed] a substantial capacity . . . to control
his conduct within the requirements of [the] law.''
The court rendered judgment accordingly and sentenced the
defendant to twenty-three years of incarceration followed by
seven years of special parole. This appeal followed.
appeal, the defendant claims that the court's rejection
of the affirmative defense of mental disease or defect was
not reasonably supported by the evidence. He argues that the
court improperly disregarded undisputed witness testimony and
rejected an expert witness' conclusion that the defendant
lacked substantial capacity to conform his conduct within the
law. We disagree.
initial matter, we set forth our standard of review.
‘‘The evaluation of . . . evidence on the issue
of legal insanity is [within] the province of the finder of
fact . . . . We have repeatedly stated that our review of the
conclusions of the trier of fact . . . is limited. . . . This
court will construe the evidence in the light most favorable
to sustaining the trial court's [judgment] and will
affirm the conclusion of the trier of fact if it is
reasonably supported by the evidence and the logical
inferences drawn therefrom. . . . The probative force of
direct and circumstantial evidence is the same. . . . The
credibility of expert witnesses and the weight to be given to
their testimony ...