As the two year anniversary of Wiltonian Nicholas Parisot's untimely death approaches, Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo says his department is now exploring the possibility of convening a Grand Jury hearing for the case.
"The physical investigation is complete and there is nothing more at this time that can be done to analyze [the] evidence further," Lombardo said in a written statement. "Currently we are exploring the possibility together with the [Prosecutor's office] to convene a Grand Jury hearing. The Grand Jury application is a lengthy, difficult process and could take several more months to complete."
The purpose of convening such a hearing at the state level would be to allow a panel of judges to determine whether or not there is enough evidence in the Parisot case to allow for a trial. Wilton Police Lieutenant Don Wakeman said the last time he could remember such a process unfolding was during an appeal of a 2002 case in which Michael Skakel was convicted of the 1975 murder of Martha Moxley. A Grand Jury hearing led to the five-judge panel denying Skakel's appeal this past April.
"It's a pretty rare process in Connecticut," Wakeman said on Tuesday. "A panel of judges in Connecticut would make up the grand jury. I've been told it can either be a panel of one or three judges. And they would review the evidence...but they also have the ability to subpoena people to testify."
That subpoena power may be important in the Parisot case because while Lombardo said most of the "hundreds" of residents and community members interviewed so far have been cooperative, "[Police] are disappointed with the lack of cooperation to date by some."
Lombardo said his department remains committed to solving the "very complex case," but added that police and investigators have reached an impasse. Despite work with the state and the FBI's forensic laboratories, as well as reputed forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee (a part of the O.J. Simpson case, among thousands of others), the physical evidence in the case has been taken as far as possible.
"The case has been extremely difficult to conclusively resolve for several reasons," Lombardo wrote, "including (i) the lack of any known eyewitness to the incident, (ii) the involvement of minors, (iii) the unwillingness of some witnesses to fully cooperate, and (iv) other issues outside of our control."
Lombardo added that because the case involves juveniles, whose rights are strictly protected in Connecticut, progress has been slow.
Meanwhile, Parisot's parents, Rick Parisot and Katherine Throckmorton, filed a civil suit in June of 2009 against Glenn and Barbara Knight and their 12-year-old son. The suit claimed the Knight boy's malicious activities led to Nicholas Parisot's death and is still pending in Stamford Superior Court.
"The Wilton Police Department is committed to bringing this case to a conclusion and is continuing to treat this case as its top priority," Lombardo said in closing.