An elections official in Connecticut is charged with murder after allegedly shooting her tenant dead.
Ellen Wink, a 61-year-old Republican deputy registrar of voters in Norwalk, Conn., was being held Friday on a $1 million bond following the deadly shooting in a home she owns on Nelson Avenue. The victim, identified as 54-year-old Kurt Lametta, was renting the home where the shooting took place, and Wink, who reportedly was his landlord, lived in the house next door on the same street.
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Norwalk police said patrol officers responded to a 911 at 11:52 a.m. about a "disturbance" involving the two inside the home and found Lametta "had sustained multiple gunshot wounds." The man was pronounced dead at the scene by Norwalk Hospital Emergency Medical Service. Patrol officers located Wink at the scene and immediately detained her, according to a press release from the department.
Detectives placed Wink under arrest by 1 p.m. Thursday and charged her with murder, though the investigation remains ongoing. Judge John Blawie kept bond at $1 million during an arraignment hearing in State Superior Court in Stamford on Friday. Wink's defense attorney, Kevin Black, had asked for it to be lowered to $200,000, arguing the shooting was an isolated incident. While, Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Manning requested bond be bumped to $2 million, claiming Wink is a "danger to society."
Wink's next court date is scheduled for March 16. In addition to serving as deputy registrar, she previously served as Norwalk city clerk from 2009 to 2011 and unsuccessfully ran in 2020 for state representative for the 137th District, losing to Democratic incumbent Chris Perone.
Local reports say Lametta, whose nickname was "Puff," worked in construction, and he was remembered by one longtime family friend as a "gentle giant."
The Hour of Norwalk reported that records show Wink was arrested in September over another incident involving a tenant, only identified at the time as a 54-year-old. The tenant told officers he had been living at the home for a year when he came back one Saturday to find Wink locked him out and threw away his clothes, jewelry, cash and other belongings, according to Norwalk police Sgt. Sofia Gulino.
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Records say Wink did not dispute the tenant's account and still denied him entry. After ignoring requests and warnings from officers to unlock the door, Wink was arrested and charged with criminal lockout, first-degree criminal mischief and fourth-degree larceny. That case was still pending.
"Wink and the victim in this case had numerous interactions over the course of a month," Manning said Friday. "She then very clearly showed her anger towards the victim. That anger escalated to the point where she shot him in his home - she brought the gun to that house and shot him yesterday. That, in the state's view, shows that she is a very dangerous person who lets her anger guide her finger."
The relationship between the landlord and the tenant first began to deteriorate in September 2020 when Lametta allegedly stopped paying rent, and Wink wanted to sell the home, police reports indicate.
In a conversation with the 911 dispatcher following the shooting, Wink allegedly said she had gone to Lametta's apartment to do some cleaning when he suddenly "came" at her. She also expressed she was "so tired of this guy" and that "she had kept telling him to get out and had enough," a police report says.
Despite the murder charge, Wink was not immediately removed as deputy registrar of voters.
"We need to wait and see as the investigation unfolds and more information comes to light before we make any action," Republican Town Committee Chair Fred Wilm told The Hour. "Ellen has been actively engaged in Norwalk, a longstanding member of the community in so many different capacities. This story is very shocking. Of course, our thoughts go out to the victim's family. My thoughts go out to Ellen and her family."