February 1, 2018
information charging the defendant with the crime of murder,
brought to the Superior Court in the judicial district of New
Britain and tried to the jury before D'Addabbo, J.;
verdict of guilty of the lesser included offense of
manslaughter in the first degree; thereafter, the court
rendered judgment in accordance with the verdict, from which
the defendant appealed to this court. Affirmed.
N. Baldwin, for the appellant (defendant).
M. Shair, senior assistant state's attorney, with whom
were Brian Preleski, state's attorney, and, on the brief,
Brett Salafia, assistant state's attorney, for the
Lavine, Prescott and Elgo, Js.
defendant, Jeffrey W. Hall, appeals from the judgment of
conviction, rendered after a jury trial, of manslaughter in
the first degree in violation of General Statutes §
53a-55 (a) (1). On appeal, the defendant claims that the
trial court improperly declined to provide the jury with an
instruction on the duty to retreat. We affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
basis of the evidence adduced at trial, the jury reasonably
could have found the following facts. At all relevant times,
the defendant lived with Michelle Lewis and Karen Letourneau
at a residence known as 19 Lincoln Street in Bristol. In the
early hours of June 21, 2013, Letourneau, the defendant, and
other individuals were celebrating Lewis' birthday at the
residence. Among the attendees was Jerry Duncan, who had been
invited by Letourneau. The attendees enjoyed birthday cake
and then drinks together on a front porch. At some point, a
disagreement arose between the defendant and Duncan, and the
defendant indicated that he wanted Duncan to leave. In
response, Letourneau told the defendant that ‘‘I
pay rent [here] and he's my company and he's not
leaving.'' The party then continued for approximately
one hour without incident.
after 3 a.m., the Bristol Police Department received an
anonymous noise complaint regarding the party at the
residence. Officer Daniel Colavolpe was on patrol that
evening and responded to the complaint with Officer Al Myers.
When they arrived at the residence, Colavolpe saw multiple
people on the porch who were ‘‘conversing loudly,
'' at which point the officers advised them to
‘‘go inside and call it a night.'' The
individuals agreed and went inside the house.
the party later resumed on the porch. When Letourneau went
inside to check on her minor son, she heard a
‘‘commotion in the front hallway.''
Letourneau opened the front door and found the defendant and
Duncan ‘‘physically attacking each
other.'' At trial, Letourneau described what happened
next: ‘‘I froze, I panicked. I came back in the
house and then about a minute later, I went back out and
that's when I saw everything covered with blood. . . .
There was blood flying everywhere.'' Letourneau
retreated inside the house and then ‘‘went back
out a third time'' and found the defendant seated on
the porch. When she peered over the railing, Letourneau saw
Duncan ‘‘laying on the bottom of the stairs face
up and his legs were going up the
those events unfolded, the police received a second noise
complaint. Colavolpe and Myers again responded to the
residence, arriving at approximately 3:45 a.m. As he stood on
the front porch, Colavolpe heard ‘‘a male voice
fairly loudly say, ‘Yeah, call 911, there's a
corpse at the bottom of the stairs, ' and then followed
up a very short time later with, ‘I don't fucking
care, tell him I stabbed him.' '' Colavolpe then
opened the door and saw Duncan lying motionless at the bottom
of the stairs with ‘‘a large amount of blood
around his head . . . .''
entered the residence with his gun drawn and ordered everyone
inside to the ground. In response, the defendant, who was
‘‘covered in blood, '' informed Colavolpe
that the other individuals ‘‘were fine''
and that ‘‘he was the one [who] stabbed [Duncan]
but [that] it was in self-defense.'' Colavolpe then
moved the defendant from the crime scene to the porch while
awaiting assistance from additional officers. At that time,
the defendant was ‘‘very calm'' and did
not appear to be injured in any way. The defendant then
stated to Colavolpe: ‘‘I just did what I was
trained to do. [Duncan] punched me and I grabbed what I could
and stabbed him. I stabbed him and broke off the knife. . . .
I hope I killed him. I really hope I did. And if he
wasn't such a dick, he wouldn't be dead.''
defendant made similar statements to Officers Tyler Meusel
and Craig Duquette in the hours that followed. When Meusel
responded to the scene, the defendant's demeanor was
‘‘[v]ery passive, almost nonchalant.'' As
he sat in a police cruiser with Meusel, the defendant stated
that he had acted in self-defense. The defendant asked if he
had killed Duncan and then stated, ‘‘I hope I
did.'' The defendant also asked Meusel what his
sentence was likely to be for this crime, inquiring whether
‘‘it would be man[slaughter] second.'' As
to how the altercation took place, the defendant informed
Meusel that ‘‘[h]e came at me so I stabbed him in
the throat.'' Duquette was involved in booking the
defendant on June 21, 2013. When Duquette asked if he was
injured, the defendant, pointing to his hand, said
‘‘maybe right here . . . from where I stuck the
knife in him'' and then laughed. The defendant stated
that Duncan ‘‘had come to fuck with ...