Parole of man who killed Plainville police officer in 1977 suspended
Published: February 9, 2015 | Last Modified: February 10, 2015 02:39PM
By Ken Liebeskind The Plainville Citizen
The murder of Plainville police officer Robert Holcomb in 1977 is in the news again, after his killer, Gerald Castonguay, was tentatively offered parole.
The parole offer had not been announced to Holcomb's family, prompting a fiery protest that led the state Board of Pardons and Parole to suspend its decision and schedule another hearing.
Maria Weinberger, a niece of Holcomb's who lives in Middletown, said, "It starts with the fact that nobody knew. The state of Connecticut should have let us know, so we called the governor's office and other politicians."
Weinberger said the family learned about the parole "through an anonymous tip to the police department." She said the state had attempted to notify the family by sending a letter to the address of an aunt who died last summer.
Castonguay killed Holcomb, 28, during a robbery attempt in town. Plainville Police Chief Matthew Catania said, "Officer Holcomb was in pursuit of two burglary suspects fleeing the home. Castonguay shot him and then walked over and executed him. He could have just escaped and Robert might have survived." Kim Stimac Giove, another niece of Holcomb's, said, "He shot my uncle once in the arm and then stood over him and fired four shots into his chest at close range. My uncle Bob died shortly after at New Britain General Hospital."
The violent murder of Holcomb is one reason many believe Castonguay should never be pardoned. "It wasn't a crime of passion, it was a very brutal murder," Plainville Town Manager Robert E. Lee said. "And if you kill a police officer there shouldn't be an opportunity to get out of jail, period."
The fact that Castonguay is now 70 isn't reason to allow for a pardon, either, Lee asserted. "If you put a gun in anyone's hand he's dangerous, I don't care how old he is."
Plainville continues to mourn the loss of Holcomb. The town named the road that leads to the high school Robert Holcomb Way and there is a memorial to the fallen officer on the police department's web page.
"When I came to town in 2010, some of the first people I met in the community discussed the impact of that murder, and it's had an impact on the culture of the department," Catania said. "Robert Holcomb was an exemplary human being, a military vet and a fine police officer."
"It affects more than the Holcomb family and the police department," Lee said. "It was a crime against the community."
Castonguay "needs to remain incarcerated and the process needs to be more transparent," Weinberger said.
"There's a serious flaw that a parole can happen with no one's notice." She said, "We're glad pressure was brought on the Board of Parole to suspend their decision. We're going to have the opportunity to speak for ourselves before the board."
We at the Police Association of Connecticut wish to thank the PLAINVILLLE CITIZEN for allowing us to post this article on our website. To all our membership at PAC, if you have an opinion on this case and hearing to take place on March 25th, 2015, please contact the Board of Pardons and Paroles and give them your opinion. Email address is; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please see attached proclamation signed by Governor Malloy supporting CPCA (Connecticut Police Chiefs Association) in declaring January 9, 2015 as National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day in Connecticut.
Your trademark has been registered with the U.S. Trademark Office on March 11, 2014. You may now use the ® symbol to reflect your federally registered rights. You are receiving this message because you are a correspondent for the PAC trademark, US Registration Number: 4494547. You can view more information about your newly registered trademark here:
We have been up and running since the Convention in August. Support PAC and make purchases for clothing, apparel and other items at the PAC Store. Please click on the store link. Look at all the items and options available. A portion of each purchase helps to support our Organization and its Members. Feel free to let us know how your experience goes. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year! Always 'BE SAFE'
The Police Association of Connecticut was formed in 1902, " for the protection and promotion of the welfare of the police officers of Connecticut; the improvement of their facilities to render to the public, whose servants they are, the most efficient possible service; the compilation of police statistics; the collection of information concerning the practical working of different systems of police organization; and cultivation of social intercommunication and fraternal fellowship between the different police departments of the state." The PAC is the oldest such statewide police organization in Connecticut.
Relief payments under By-Laws of Connecticut Police Association. When any person, under the provisions of the constitution and bylaws of the Connecticut Police Association, Inc. is entitled to relief from said association as the widow, child or dependent mother of a police officer killed in the line of duty, the Comptroller shall, upon the delivery to him of adequate proof from said association of the right of such person to such relief as foresaid, draw his order upon the State Treasurer in favor of the person or persons entitled to such relief, or their legal representatives, for the amount to which such person or persons may be entitled as relief as foresaid, provided such orders shall be limited to available appropriations, Sec. 3-122 "Connecticut General Statute