Published December 10. 2012 2:00PM Updated December 10. 2012 10:23PM
A New London Superior Court judge sentenced 48-year-old Kevin Bialowas to 15 years in prison Monday, telling Bialowas he had taken away everything Stephen Germano had when he struck him with his pickup truck and fled the scene on July 14, 2009 in Norwich.
Bialowas, initially charged with murder, had been convicted by a jury in October of the lesser crimes of second-degree manslaughter and evading responsibility.
According to the state, Bialowas, driving a Ford F-150 pickup truck, hit Germano, 33, at the intersection of Elm Avenue and East Town Street during a dispute involving Bialowas' female passenger, Jennifer Sanford. Germano died of blunt traumatic injuries.
Bialowas, who had been released from a halfway house hours earlier after serving a six-month stint for tax evasion, did not stop or report the incident to police.
"I find it significant that this event took place on the day you were released from prison, which calls into question your ability to be a productive member of society," Hadden said.
Defense attorney John Franckling had argued for a shorter sentence for Bialowas, who he said had been threatened by Germano, who was speaking on the phone with Sanford during a seven-mile chase that began at her home in Baltic.
"He was being pursued by a very large, very angry, very violent man," Franckling said.
Bialowas had attempted to back up his truck when Germano exited his vehicle but had nowhere to go, according to Franckling.
"The jury rejected very rapidly the state's contention that there was intent on Kevin's part," Franckling said. "They did find he was reckless."
Prosecutor Stephen M. Carney had asked the judge to impose a lengthy sentence. In his summary of the crime, Carney said Bialowas, who dated Sanford before he went to prison and kept in touch with her during his incarceration, had gone to Sanford's home in Baltic hours after he was released from a halfway house. He encountered Germano, who he knew had been pimping out Sanford as a prostitute at Mohegan Sun while Bialowas was incarcerated.
"Mr. Bialowas couldn't exactly be described as Richard Gere in 'Pretty Woman' in light of what happened next," Carney said.
Bialowas and Sanford left together, and Germano began following them. At the Norwich intersection, Carney said Bialowas put his truck into drive, uttered an obscenity, and drove directly into Germano, whose body came to rest on the hood of the car before Bialowas turned the wheel and Germano fell off.
Bialowas' parents, siblings and children were in the courtroom for his sentencing.
Nobody was present on behalf of Germano, a Milford, Mass., native who grew up in a tumultuous family environment, according to testimony.
Germano's cousin, Michael Evangelista, said he had hoped to attend the sentencing but was unable to travel here from Texas.
In an email sent to The Day this weekend, Evangelista referred to Bialowas as "a coward."
"All that Stephen Germano wanted that day was to have a good American fist fight with the man who took his girl and he would have walked away, never bothering anybody again," Evangelista wrote.
"But instead, he did not stand in front of a man, he stood in front of a coward who drove his car at him trying to run him over because he was scared."