Man Convicted in 1985 New Milford Murder Released From Prison
One of the two men famously convicted of a grisly murder that took place in New Milford back in 1985 has been released from prison.
According to NBC Connecticut, Ralph "Ricky" Birch is very much looking forward to enjoying a steak dinner today, as he is outside of prison walls for the first time in 30 years. Birch received a conditional release on Tuesday (July 2) as a result of the state Supreme Court's decision to overturn his conviction, citing that he and another man, Shawn Henning, were convicted "based in part on false testimony."
As many area locals will recall, the gruesome murder of 65-year-old New Milford man, Everett Carr, received widespread coverage when it took place at the tail end of 1985. The case stood out mostly because of the severity of Carr's injuries — stabbed 27 times, throat slashed, and his skull crushed — and the fact that his alleged killers were just teens. The savage attacked was so brutal, that 70 blood samples were taken off of the walls, ceiling, floor and other items within the New Milford home.
Two gentlemen, Shawn Henning and Ricky Birch, who were ages 17 and 18 respectively at the time of the murder and were admittedly committing local robberies in the area, were convicted of Carr's murder, with the prosecutors believing that it had been a burglary gone wrong. One of the key factors that led to the conviction of the two local teens was the forensic testimony of Dr. Henry Lee, the famed scientist known for his work on murder cases like those of O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and Laci Peterson. As it turns out, once DNA testing capabilities were available many years later, new evidence arose that may possibly change the fate of both Henning and Birch.
According to the Hartford Courant, not only did the DNA not match Henning or Birch, but a female's DNA was found to be mixed with Everett Carr's in a few different places. Because of the new evidence, Dr. Henry Lee's testimony fell under heavy scrutiny and attorneys called for the Connecticut State Court to either provide Birch and Henning with a new trail or exonerate them altogether.
Shawn Henning, who is actually out on parole after serving a large part of his sentence, is adamant about having his name publicly cleared of the the murder, while Ricky Birch, who was still locked up in Somers, CT until Tuesday, wants his story heard as well.
NBC Connecticut reports that as it stands right now, the Litchfield State's Attorney will decide over the next few months as to whether or not Birch and Henning will be brought to trial again.