After more than a decade, two murder cases will finally make their way to court. On Thursday, New London Superior Court Judge Arthur C. Hadden set February 6 as the date for jury selection to begin in the trial of Dickie Anderson.
Anderson, 41, is charged with the murder of two women, Renee Pellegrino who was found strangled to death on Parkway South in Waterford in 1997 and Michelle Comeau, who was found dead near Norwich Industrial Park near the Franklin town line in 1998. The Pellegrino murder had been a cold case until DNA testing implicated Anderson.
Although no DNA evidence links Anderson to the Comeau murder, he reportedly admitted to having sex with both women the day they died. Both women were strangled and their naked bodies looked to be posed when police found them. The two murders were similar enough in nature to lead the state’s medical examiner to conclude it was likely the work of one killer.
Earlier this month, Judge Hadden had ruled in favor of the state’s motion to consolidate both cases, allowing both murders to be tried together. On December 29, he denied a defense motion to reconsider his earlier decision to consolidate the case.
Judge Hadden also denied a defense motion to dismiss the Comeau case based on speedy trial issues. Christopher Duby, one of two defense attorneys representing Anderson, said he had been ready to proceed to trial in that case before the two murders were consolidated.
Defense Attorney John Walkley, meanwhile, said he had not been ready to proceed to trial with the Pellegrino case because the state had not provided the defense with DNA evidence for testing. Senior Assistant State’s Attorney David Smith disputed that, saying his office had sent the evidence to the defense in May.
Either way, the defense motion asking the judge to compel the state to turn over that evidence became a moot point. The defense team received the requested DNA evidence from the state’s attorney on December 15.
That doesn’t give the defense much time to have the evidence tested, however. Walkley said he hoped to have the test results back within 30 to 60 days but with the holidays, it was hard to say and he didn’t yet know when the defense expert would be available to testify.
Given the circumstances, Judge Hadden granted the defense request to push the trial date back a week from the February 1 date he originally had in mind to February 6.