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APPEALS: Appellate Court rejects bid of person who committed 1996 kidnapping and sexual assault

During the evening of September 16, 1996, the victim walked the short distance from her home in East Haddam to J.R.’s Cafe in Moodus.  The criminal defendant, Howard Wilcox, with whom the victim was not acquainted, already was at the bar when she arrived. The victim remained at J.R.’s for approximately one and one-half to two hours during which time she had several drinks, danced, and conversed with acquaintances. At approximately 12:30 a.m. on September 17, 1996, the victim left the bar and started walking home. Wilcox exited the bar immediately after the victim. As the victim walked down one of the driveways leading away from J.R.’s, Wilcox drove up next to her and offered to drive her home. The victim accepted his offer and voluntarily entered the vehicle. The victim gave Wilcox directions to her home, but he failed to turn onto her road as instructed. The victim attempted to exit the moving car by opening the door, but the Wilcox grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back into the vehicle.

Wilcox then drove the victim to a remote area of Cockaponset State Forest, where he physically and sexually assaulted her. As the victim ran away, she lost one of her shoes, a sock and her driver’s license, which she had kept in her sock. The victim hid for a period of time beneath a tree.  Eventually, the victim walked to a house adjacent to the woods where she knocked on the door and asked for help. The victim, who had mud on her clothes and body, and marks around her neck, appeared to have been involved in a struggle. Inside the house, the victim telephoned her father and told him that she had just been raped. The police were notified and arrived shortly thereafter.

In 1997, the petitioner was convicted following a jury trial of one count of kidnapping in the first degree in violation of General Statutes 53a-92 (a)(2)(A), one count of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes 53a-70 (a)(1), one count of attempt to commit sexual assault in the first degree in violation of General Statutes 53a?49 (a)(2) and 53a-70 (a)(1), one count of assault in the third degree in violation of General Statutes  53a-61 (a)(1), and one count of falsely reporting a motor vehicle theft in violation of General Statutes  14-198. The trial court sentenced the petitioner to a total effective sentence of forty years incarceration, execution suspended after thirty-four years, followed by ten years of probation.

The Appellate Court now rejects Wilcox’ petition for a writ of habeas corpus based upon two subsequent Supreme Court rulings regarding kidnapping.

Wilcox v. Comm’r of Correction, 162 Conn. App. 730 (Feb. 2, 2016)