News Column

Newtown Search Warrants Released

March 28, 2013

Dave Altimari and Jenny Wilson, The Hartford Courant

A judge has granted the prosecutor in charge of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting probe permission to withhold some information from warrants investigators obtained to search the home and car of shooter Adam Lanza.

The redacted search warrants are scheduled to be released Thursday. The four warrants, for the Newtown home on Yogananda Street that Lanza shared with his mother, Nancy and for the black Honda Civic that he drove to the school on Dec. 14, were sealed for 90 days in late December.

Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky asked Judge John F. Blawie to seal certain information, including the identity of a witness and undisclosed items obtained during the searches, for another 90 days.

Lanza, 20, killed 26 people, including 20 first graders, after he blasted his way into the school. He first shot and killed his mother at their home.

Authorities have released little information about the on-going state police investigation, which they've said is not expected to completed until June. State police have been criticized recently for attending several national police conferences and revealing details of the investigation at those functions.

The biggest leak came two weeks ago when Col. Danny Stebbins attended a conference and told a group of police chiefs that investigators found a 4-foot-by7-foot long spreadsheet with a detailed listing of mass murderers, including how many they had killed and what weapons they had used.

Someone leaked that information to the New York Daily News. Lawmakers and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy criticized state police for revealing the information before even telling the victims' families.

Malloy asked the Chief State's Attorney to provide an interim report on the investigation by Friday. The redacted search warrants and a short statement are expected to be released Thursday.

Among the things Sedensky asked the judge to keep sealed is the identity of a witness who provided police with information, credit card numbers, and at least one telephone number listed in the return of the search warrant by state police. There are also serial numbers related to five unidentified items found in the house which will remain sealed.

Sedensky argued in his filings that "the investigation, which was a basis for the issuing of the search warrant, is still continuing. That no arrests have been made and while none are currently anticipated, arrests have not been ruled out and the investigation is fully active and ongoing by both state and federal authorities."

State police applied for four search warrants within the first few days of the massacre. On the day of the shootings, police obtained a search warrant for the Civic, where they found a loaded shotgun in the trunk, as well as the home, which they entered after 7:25 p.m., according to court records.

Police also got a search warrant for the house on Dec. 15 and another one on Dec. 16, records show. Under state law, police have 14 days to return a search warrant to the court along with an itemized list of what was removed during their search.

Source: (c)2013 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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