REPORTING THE NEWS, OR MAKING IT?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 7, 2013) — The title of a February 5, 2013 article in Digital Journal suggests that the Connecticut State Attorney’s office is pursuing a theory that more than one perpetrator could have been involved in the Sandy Hook atrocity which took place on December 14, 2012.
An article published by The Intel Hub on February 6 stated that “New information has now been brought forth by Connecticut State Attorney Stephen Sedensky, suggesting that records pertaining to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have been sealed to possibly hide the identity of witnesses from multiple shooter suspects and that they should not be unsealed anytime soon.” The article contains opinion at its conclusion. The Intel Hub states that it has been carrying out its own investigation of the Sandy Hook shooting.
On Thursday, The Post & Email contacted the State’s Attorney’s office for Newtown and the surrounding area, leaving a voice message for Stephen J. Sedensky, III. Within a half-hour, Atty. Sedensky returned our telephone call and spoke with us for approximately four minutes.
We explained that we had found two articles which implied that his office was looking into multiple perpetrators in regard to Sandy Hook. He responded that Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police is providing official updates on the investigation and that he could not comment on it.
Vance’s latest press release was dated January 18, 2013 and involved the types of firearms carried into the school by Adam Lanza, the publicly-known perpetrator, as well as one found in the trunk of the vehicle he drove that morning. The press release was noted as having been updated on January 23 with an apparent change to the type of firearm used by the perpetrator. In Vance’s initial report, one of the weapons allegedly brought into Sandy Hook Elementary School was cited as “Bushmaster .223 caliber – model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round clips.” The firearm is now described as “Bushmaster .223 caliber– model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round magazine.”
When The Post & Email read from the Digital Journal’s article and specifically, the text which reads “identify persons cooperating with the investigation, thus possibly jeopardizing their personal safety and well-being,” we referred to the title of the piece which suggested that more than one perpetrator could be suspected.
Sedensky acknowledged his request for a 90-day extension of the sealing of the search warrants of the home of Nancy Lanza and her son, Adam Lanza. In his request to Connecticut Superior Court Judge John F. Blawie, Sedensky referenced a state statute, CGS 54-33c(b). For context, the entire statute reads:
Sec. 54-33c. Application for warrant. Execution and return of warrant. Copy of affidavit to be given to owner, occupant or person named in warrant; exceptions. Disclosure of affidavit limited by prosecuting attorney, when. (a) The applicant for the search warrant shall file the application for the warrant and all affidavits upon which the warrant is based with the clerk of the court for the geographical area within which any person who may be arrested in connection with or subsequent to the execution of the search warrant would be presented with the return of the warrant. The warrant shall be executed within ten days and returned with reasonable promptness consistent with due process of law and shall be accompanied by a written inventory of all property seized. A copy of such warrant shall be given to the owner or occupant of the dwelling, structure, motor vehicle or place designated therein, or the person named therein. Within forty-eight hours of such search, a copy of the application for the warrant and a copy of all affidavits upon which the warrant is based shall be given to such owner, occupant or person. The judge or judge trial referee may, by order, dispense with the requirement of giving a copy of the affidavits to such owner, occupant or person at such time if the applicant for the warrant files a detailed affidavit with the judge or judge trial referee which demonstrates to the judge or judge trial referee that (1) the personal safety of a confidential informant would be jeopardized by the giving of a copy of the affidavits at such time, or (2) the search is part of a continuing investigation which would be adversely affected by the giving of a copy of the affidavits at such time, or (3) the giving of such affidavits at such time would require disclosure of information or material prohibited from being disclosed by chapter 959a. If the judge or judge trial referee dispenses with the requirement of giving a copy of the affidavits at such time, such order shall not affect the right of such owner, occupant or person to obtain such copy at any subsequent time. No such order shall limit the disclosure of such affidavits to the attorney for a person arrested in connection with or subsequent to the execution of a search warrant unless, upon motion of the prosecuting authority within two weeks of such person’s arraignment, the court finds that the state’s interest in continuing nondisclosure substantially outweighs the defendant’s right to disclosure.
(b) Any order dispensing with the requirement of giving a copy of the warrant application and accompanying affidavits to such owner, occupant or person within forty-eight hours shall be for a specific period of time, not to exceed two weeks beyond the date the warrant is executed. Within that time period the prosecuting authority may seek an extension of such period. Upon the execution and return of the warrant, affidavits which have been the subject of such an order shall remain in the custody of the clerk’s office in a secure location apart from the remainder of the court file.
Sedensky’s request for an extension of the seal on the search warrants does not mention “multiple suspects.” It refers only to “investigators and any potential suspect(s).” [page 5]
Regarding the “extrapolation” of the Digital Journal author that Sedensky’s office is pursuing more than one perpetrator, Sedensky responded, “That’s an inaccurate extrapolation.” He asked that the remainder of the conversation be kept off the record.