Friday, December 13, 2013
From news service reports
WATERBURY, Conn. — A reopened police investigation has concluded that actor Dylan McDermott's mother was killed in 1967 by her now-dead gangster boyfriend.
Questions from actor Dylan McDermott, above, led to the reopening of the investigation into the death of his mother, Diane McDermott, below left, in 1967. Police in Waterbury, Conn., have concluded she was killed by her gangster boyfriend, John Sponza, below right, who died in 1972.
Photos by The Associated Press
Waterbury police reopened the investigation last year into Diane McDermott's death after Dylan McDermott contacted them with questions, the Republican-American newspaper reported.
He was 5 years old when his mother was shot in February 1967. Her death was originally ruled an accident.
Police told the newspaper the evidence they found would be enough to file murder charges against John Sponza, who lived with McDermott at the time. He had told authorities that McDermott had accidentally shot herself after picking up a gun he had been cleaning.
Sponza, who police say had ties to organized crime, was shot to death in 1972, his body found in the trunk of a car in a Waltham, Mass., grocery store parking lot.
H. Wayne Carver, the state's medical examiner, reviewed McDermott's autopsy and determined that the gun found near the body was too small a caliber to have been the weapon used to kill her.
The wound also showed that the murder weapon had been pressed to the back of her head, according to his report.
Police Superintendent Michael Gugliotti also stumbled over some of the initial findings.
"Sponza is telling the police that night that he very rarely, if ever, had arguments, yet everyone we spoke to, including Dylan, who was only 5 at the time, remembered very violent, vicious arguments," Gugliotti said. "Dylan vividly recalls the amount of times, not only flashing the gun, but pointing it at the kid, saying, 'Shut up and get out of here.' He's still probably traumatized by that."
Dylan McDermott, who won a Golden Globe in 1999 for his role on the TV drama "The Practice," declined to comment to the newspaper about the investigation.
His sister, Robin Herrera, said she is relieved that the truth has been discovered.
"Somebody took her from us; she didn't leave us," she said.
Dylan McDermott met with Gugliotti and Mayor Neil M. O'Leary last year while in town for a fundraiser. "He said in order for me to survive and to get where I am today, I needed to bury that moment in my life deep within myself," Gugliotti said.
Police said the investigation has led to evidence that implicates Sponza in at least two other unsolved homicides.
Jackson doctor sorry he didn't testify at trial
LOS ANGELES — On the third anniversary Monday of Michael Jackson's death, Dr. Conrad Murray, who is serving four years in jail for his role in the singer's death, wishes he had testified during his trial, his appeals attorney said.
Jackson's personal physician has spent seven months in the Los Angeles County jail since his involuntary manslaughter conviction last November.
As Jackson stopped breathing and suffered cardiac arrest under the influence of the surgical anesthetic propofol, jurors were told, Murray chatted on the phone and sent and received email and text messages.
And in the crucial moments after he discovered the singer had stopped breathing, he delayed calling for help and lied to paramedics and emergency doctors, witnesses said.
Murray never took the witness stand to proclaim his innocence.
"He absolutely wishes he testified," said attorney Valerie Wass, who is handling Murray's appeal of his conviction. "Ed Chernoff (Murray's attorney) was pretty adamant that he not testify, Mr. (J. Michael) Flanagan (his other attorney) thought he should testify. So he never testified."
Wass said Murray maintains his innocence. He has insisted that Jackson obtained propofol as a sleep aid long before Murray became his physician.
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R&B singer Maxwell has canceled his short U.S. tour after developing vocal swelling and hemorrhaging.
2011 File Photo/The Associated Press