Wrongful death suit filed against suspect in “Fitbit” murder case

VERNON, Conn. — The sister of a woman fatally shot in her Connecticut home in 2015 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the victim’s husband.

The Journal Inquirer reports the lawsuit was filed on Nov. 22 by Marliese Shaw against Richard Dabate Jr., and seeks unspecified monetary damages. Dabate was charged in April with the murder of his wife Connie Dabate.

Shaw is the executor of her sister’s estate and has also asked a probate judge to order that Richard Dabate return more than $70,000 taken from his wife’s estate after she died.

Authorities say Dabate told them a masked man had entered their Ellington home on Dec. 23, 2015, shot his wife and tied him up before he burned the intruder with a torch. Investigators say he was found with an arm and leg zip-tied to a folding chair, and he had superficial knife wounds, according to the Hartford Courant.

But police say evidence, including information from his wife’s Fitbit activity tracker, contradicts his story and shows she was moving around an hour after he said she was killed.

Police say there were no signs of a struggle in the home, nothing was stolen and a police dog only picked up Richard Dabate’s scent, reports the Courant, citing an arrest warrant.

The warrant says Dabate had a pregnant girlfriend at the time of his wife’s killing and that he told his girlfriend he was getting a divorce.

Dabate allegedly told investigators his wife was unable to have another child, so the couple did some “untraditional things.” He said all three planned to co-parent the child, reports CBS affiliate WFSB-TV. The couple had two children.

Dabate has maintained his innocence.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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