Conn. Man Killed Wife After Getting His Girlfriend Pregnant: How Her Fitbit Led to His Conviction

Richard Dabate murdered his wife, Connie, in 2015

Connie and Richard Dabate.

A Connecticut man who murdered his wife and then saw his alibi dismantled by recorded movements of her Fitbit faces 60 years in prison following his conviction for the killing.

Prosecutors theorized that 39-year-old Connie Dabate was killed so her husband, Richard, could avoid the fallout from a possible divorce after he fathered a child with another woman.

Jurors in Rockville Superior Court found Richard guilty Tuesday of all three charges filed against him: murder, tampering with evidence and making a false statement to authorities, reports the Associated Press.

His attorney, Trent LaLima, told reporters that he planned to appeal.

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"It's a weight lifted off my shoulders. But it's bittersweet," Connie's brother, Keith Margotta, said on the courthouse steps after the verdict was announced, reports the Journal Inquirer. "Everything kind of hits home. Everything that we went through, and tried to put behind us six years ago, is right in front of us right now."

Hearing the verdict, "I felt like I was gonna hit the floor," he said. "I was in shock."

Richard had claimed that a 6-foot-2-inch masked intruder broke into the couple's Ellington home on Dec. 23, 2015, tied him up and tortured him — then shot and killed his wife, according to an arrest warrant previously obtained by PEOPLE.

But Richard had only "minor injuries" when police arrived on the scene. And more than a year later, authorities found a key piece of evidence: Connie's Fitbit, which showed Connie was moving around for nearly an hour after her husband said she was killed, which undermined Richard's account, according to court documents.

The husband had told police that he took his two sons to the bus stop, returned home to grab a "work shirt" and left for work at about 8:30 a.m. He said Connie was still home getting ready for a fitness class at the YMCA. Data on her Fitbit indicated she left at about 8:46 a.m., records show.

Richard Dabate.

The arrest warrant said Richard claimed he returned home around 9 a.m. because he forgot his laptop. At the same time, he received a text alert that their house alarm had been activated.

He claimed he then encountered the alleged intruder dressed all in camouflage, including a mask and gloves. He told police the intruder "manhandled" him and began torturing him with a blowtorch while he was strapped to a chair. Richard also claimed the intruder stabbed him with a boxcutter.

He told police they had started to fight when he heard Connie return home and he yelled for her to run. The intruder, he said, followed Connie into the basement. Richard said he then tripped down the stairs attempting to go after them, and claimed to hear a gunshot, after which he couldn't hear Connie for about five minutes.

After claiming the intruder fled, Richard told police he crawled back up the stairs, pressed a panic button on his alarm and called 911 at about 10:11 a.m.

Richard and Connie Dabate. Connie Dabate/Myspace

Evidence gathered by police contradicted his version of events.

Using records from Connie's Fitbit, both of their cellphones, computers and house alarm logs, police said Richard logged into a computer at the house at about 9:01 a.m. At 9:04 a.m. he emailed his work supervisor, saying an alarm at the house had gone off and that he'd have to return to check on it, according to the arrest warrant.

Connie's Fitbit registered movement inside the house at 9:23 a.m. She was active on Facebook between 9:40 a.m. and 9:46 a.m., posting videos to her page on her iPhone from home, according to the warrant.

The last recorded distance her Fitbit tracked was 1,217 feet between 9:18 a.m. and 10:05 a.m. Detectives concluded that the total distance it would take Connie to walk from the car to the basement, where they found her body, was no more than 125 feet, according to the warrant.

During his interview with detectives, Richard admitted to an extramarital affair resulting in a pregnancy, although he was vague with police as to whether his wife knew about the affair or the pregnancy, the warrant said.

"The trial was not about Fitbit," said Wayne Rioux, a spokesperson for Connie's family, reports the AP. "The trial was about the cold-blooded, planned murder of Connie Margotta Dabate. … There will be no closure for the Margotta family, but there is finally justice for Connie."

A jury had been selected prior to the start of the Covid shutdown, but the pandemic delayed the trial and new jurors were picked earlier this year to hear the case.

Richard had been free prior to the start of the five-week trial after posting bond. He was ordered jailed Tuesday with a new $5 million bond until he is sentenced on Sept. 16.

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