Feb. 7-After less than a day of deliberations, a Hartford Superior Court jury on Tuesday found Garry Ramsey guilty of murder in the stabbing death of Robert A. Callahan Jr., 68, in Callahan's apartment in a Manchester elderly housing complex on June 5, 2021.
The jury rejected Ramsey's claim that he acted in self-defense when he stabbed Callahan, who was trying to keep Ramsey, then 56, away from Tiffany Menendez, who was in her early 30s and was involved in relationships with both men.
Menendez was hiding in Callahan's bedroom in his apartment at 21 Carver Lane and testified that she heard the two men tussling outside the door, where pooled blood indicated that the stabbing took place.
CONVICTED: Garry Ramsey, 58, of Hartford
VICTIM: Robert A. Callahan Jr., 68, a building contractor and construction worker who was fatally stabbed on June 5, 2021 in his apartment in the Westhill Gardens II elderly housing complex in Manchester
POSSIBLE SENTENCE: Between 25 and 60 years in prison
Ramsey, now 58, of Hartford faces between 25 and 60 years in prison when Judge Kevin Doyle sentences him. In finding Ramsey guilty of murder, the jury rejected the option of finding him guilty instead of first-degree manslaughter, which carries up to 20 years in prison.
Menendez testified that Callahan had nothing in his hands as he approached the front door of his apartment just before the fatal confrontation. She said Ramsey carried a knife in the driver's door pocket of his car and had shown it to her but never threatened her with it.
She said she was frightened of Ramsey because of his behavior had grown controlling and aggressive in the two months before the stabbing. But she acknowledged that he had never laid hands on her.
Menendez called Callahan, whom she had known for some 12 years and had lived with at times, "really nice" and "my friend," saying she had never seen him get angry.
By contrast, she testified that Ramsey wasn't her friend, saying she spent time with him because he supplied her with drugs and did other things for her like taking her to get food or to meet the customers she served as an escort.
Ramsey testified that he went to Callahan's apartment on the day of the stabbing in an effort to talk to Menendez about making a mess of the hotel room they had shared the night before.
Ramsey said Callahan opened his front door as if to show him that Menendez wasn't there but then kicked him in the leg as he walked in. He said Callahan came at him with a "paring knife" but dropped it as they tussled. They both went for the knife, he said.
"I picked it up, and he got jabbed," Ramsey testified.
Ramsey, who is Black, acknowledged that he didn't call 911 after the stabbing, saying, "Manchester police are very racist."
He also testified that he threw the knife out of his car as he drove away. It was never found.
Prosecutor Samantha Magnani told the jury that such acts showed "consciousness of guilt" on his part.
Among the prosecution witnesses in the seven-day trial was Jerome Campbell, a former cellmate of Ramsey. Campbell testified that, after initially saying the stabbing was an accident, Ramsey admitted "he had the knife," which he pulled out and used in the stabbing.
Defense lawyer Michael L. Chambers Jr. suggested that Campbell's information about the stabbing came not from Ramsey but from a copy of a search-warrant affidavit he had in his cell.
The jury showed interest in that possibility Tuesday, asking to see the affidavit, which had been inadvertently omitted from the exhibits sent into the jury room.
Campbell testified that Ramsey said that, after stabbing Callahan in the heart, he twisted the knife, according to the prosecutor. Intent to kill is a key element of murder.
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