Former Waterbury State’s Attorney John Connelly died Sunday. He was a tough prosecutor who won cases against four of the eleven men currently on Connecticut’s death row.
John Connelly was State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Waterbury for more than 25 years. He served briefly as Commissioner for Public Safety in 1998.
Connelly was known as an outspoken, sometimes controversial prosecutor.
In 2008, he was a guest on WNPR’s Where We Live. The show focused on whether there has been racial and geographic bias in the state’s death penalty. When he was described by another guest on the show as being “more enthusiastic” than other prosecutors about seeking the death penalty, Connelly said he scrutinized all cases carefully.
"And people who ultimately get the death penalty are those who truly deserve it because of the nature of the crimes they committed. I’m not really enthusiastic about the death penalty. I’m enthusiastic about seeing that the law is enforced in this state."
Connecticut abolished the death penalty earlier this year, but only for future crimes.
John Connelly left office last year, after questions were raised about his judgment in accepting gifts from friends.
He died Sunday in South Carolina after a battle with colon cancer. He was 63 years old.