Nineteen-year-old Rahshad Perry pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of manslaughter Monday in the Oct. 29, 2010, stabbing of Matthew Chew in New London, making him the third of six defendants to resolve his case short of trial.
He will be sentenced in February to 20 years in prison, suspended after 15 years served and five years probation.
Judge Susan B. Handy said she is hopeful that all three of the remaining defendants — Tyree Bundy, Brian Rabell and Marquis Singleton — would be pleading guilty soon and that they all would be sentenced within the same week in February so that Chew’s parents, who live in California, would only have to travel to Connecticut one time.
Chew, 25, an artist, disc jockey and pizza cook, was jumped and fatally stabbed as he walked home from his job at 2Wives Brick Oven Pizza on Huntington Street in New London. New London Police arrested six local teenagers about a month later.
Idris Elahi, said to be the main aggressor, pleaded guilty to murder and is serving a 35-year prison sentence. The state then made plea offers to the remaining defendants, all of whom have remained in prison since their arrest, based on whether they cooperated with police and testified at a probable cause hearing in the case.
Rahshad Perry and Matias Perry, who are unrelated, both received offers involving a 15-year prison sentence. Neither of them cooperated with the investigation. The remaining three defendants have received a plea offer involving less time based on their cooperation.
Rahshad Perry’s mother was in court Monday morning as he stood next to his attorney, William Gerace, and answered a series of questions posed by the judge to ensure he understands the plea. The family has been affected by two murder cases. Perry’s brother, Rahmel Perry, 21, was fatally shot on Prest Street in New London on March 3, 2010. Police have charged Miguel Vega with the killing and his case is pending in the same New London court where major crimes are heard.
Upon Perry’s arrest, Gerace said his client was out with his cousin, Bundy, that night when things “turned ugly” and that he fled when Chew was attacked. During his remarks today, prosecutor Stephen M. Carney seemed to confirm the statement.
“We allege this defendant was not in the immediate vicinity when the victim was stabbed, but was rather in the street, laughing,” said Carney.
According to testimony at the probable cause hearing, the six teens were watching TV at Elahi’s house when they decided to go downtown and jump somebody. Perry dared Elahi to stab someone, and they targeted Chew. Two of the teens approached Chew and asked him for a lighter, and the attack began when he reached into his pocket.
Perry pleaded guilty under the Alford Doctrine, which indicates he does not agree with the state’s version of the crime but does not want to risk conviction at trial and the possibility of a harsher sentence.