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Not A Homicide? Family Of Redding Lawyer Killed In Crash Challenge Ruling

Attorney Gugsa Abraham Dabela died after a car crash in Redding in 2014.
Attorney Gugsa Abraham Dabela died after a car crash in Redding in 2014. Photo Credit: Facebook

REDDING, Conn. — The family of a Redding lawyer who was killed in a car crash in 2014 are challenging the conclusion of the state’s attorney that his death was not a homicide.

Lawyers representing the family of Gugsa Abraham “Abe” Dabela also questioned the decision of Fairfield County State’s Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III to close the criminal investigation into the death Tuesday.

Dabela died April 5, 2014, after suffering a gunshot wound to the head after his car rolled over on Umpawaug Road near Mallory Lane.

Sedensky has offered "not a shred of physical evidence to support his conclusion nor evidence that his office actually did a full or independent death investigation," Keith Altman, a lawyer hired by Dabela's family, said Wednesday. "After having the case for more than three years, the State’s Attorney only issued a half-page public statement but no official report."

Related story: Case Closed: Redding Lawyer's Death From Gunshot Ruled Not A Homicide

In his statement, Sedensky said, Dabela "was traveling to his home in Redding when his car overturned and the subsequent discharge of a firearm resulted in his death. ... The evidence does not support a conclusion that Attorney Dabela’s death was a homicide. Accordingly, the criminal investigation into this matter is closed."

Altman said, “We are astonished that instead of limiting his statement to a conclusion that the evidence is insufficient for his office to establish that a homicide took place, Sedensky went beyond his role and stated that no homicide occurred. This is a statement that means no available physical evidence supports a homicide finding, which is patently false.”

His family filed a federal lawsuit against the Redding Police Department in April 2016, contending that the police and medical examiner rushed to judgment in declaring Dabela’s death a suicide and that the case was not thoroughly investigated because their son was black. In addition to Altman, the family is represented by Solomon Radner, both of 1-800-LAW-FIRM.

The attorneys will question Sedensky at a deposition in the case next month.

Altman offered evidence that he said supports a homicide finding, including:

  • Dabela was shot through the back of the head;
  • Dabela’s DNA was not on the bullet, which the Redding Police Department claimed killed him;
  • Dabela’s DNA was not found on the trigger;
  • Neither the bullet nor the bullet casing recovered at the scene was conclusively linked to the gun;
  • A muddy footprint was found on the back of the jacket Dabela was wearing;
  • There is no evidence that he was suicidal; and
  • Dabela’s gun had a least two safety features that would prevent an accidental discharge.

Dr. Abraham Dabela expressed sadness and dissatisfaction with the handling of the investigation into his son’s death. He asked that anyone with information on the case click here .

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