By BILL LEUKHARDT | The Hartford Courant
February 3, 2009
BERLIN - Four men accused of luring a man into a home Nov. 8 on the pretense of having a party, only to beat him severely and steal $180, face assault, robbery, hate crime and other charges, police said Monday.
"He fought for his life to get away. His words," Lt. James Gosselin said of the victim's escape from his attackers. "He was bloody. As he was escaping in his car, the attackers threw pieces of flagstone at his car windows to stop him."
The victim, 28, is black. The four suspects are white. The hate-crime charges stem from racial slurs allegedly screamed during the attack, Gosselin said. The victim, whose name is being withheld by police, knew at least one of his attackers because they had been co-workers, police said.
Kyle McBriarty, 22, and Paul Russo Jr., 21, both of Berlin, and Adam Howick, 21, of New Britain, were charged on Friday with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault, first-degree criminal mischief, unlawful restraint, second-degree intimidation based on bigotry and bias, disorderly conduct, sixth-degree larceny, falsely reporting an incident, second-degree false statement and conspiracy counts for each of these charges.
A fourth suspect, Colin McBriarty, 19, of Berlin, is in jail pending trial on a separate domestic violence case and will be served with a warrant when he goes to court Feb. 18, charging him with taking part in the November robbery-beating, police said.
Howick is reputed to be a member of Aryan Nations, a white supremacist group, police said.
Kyle McBriarty and Howick were unable to post bail and remain locked up, pending trial. Russo is free after posting $250,000 bail. All three are due back in Superior Court in New Britain on Monday.
Gosselin said the investigation was complicated. The victim fled to New Britain after the attack and called police there to tell of the beating. Meanwhile, the men who were eventually charged called Berlin police to report they had been victims of a home invasion by two Hispanic males. The caller said the two invaders fought inside the home, then fled, Gosselin said.
He said police eventually determined that the home invasion complaint was a lie "to cover what happened."