Testimony remains sealed in Badaracco murder case
Updated 4:41 pm, Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A three-judge panel has turned aside a bid by Mary Badaracco's daughters to unseal the testimony of two witnesses they believe committed perjury before the grand jury that investigated the 1984 disappearance and presumed murder of the 38-year-old Sherman housewife.
In a ruling recently made public, the judges rejected a motion by State Victim Advocate Michelle Cruz to release the testimony of the woman now married to the man considered to be a leading suspect in the case, Dominic Badaracco, and his one-time business partner.
Dominic Badaracco, now 76, was charged with attempted bribery and offering a gift to a state official in April, but those allegations stem from his purported effort to pay another Superior Court judge, Robert Brunetti, $100,000 to influence the grand jury and make the case "go away."
Dominic Badaracco pleaded not guilty to the bribery charges, which are pending in state Superior Court in Middletown.
The grand jury completed work earlier this year without recommending prosecution of anyone for the murder.
Ms. Cruz, acting on behalf of Mary Badaracco's two daughters, Sherrie Passaro and Beth Profeta, argued in state Superior Court in New Britain in September that the transcripts would show the Office of the Chief State's Attorney failed in its duties by not charging either of the witnesses, Joan Badaracco or Ronald "Rocky" Richter, with perjury.
"So far, there is no justice in Connecticut," said Ms. Profeta, who, along with her sister, have been pressuring state officials for years to find out what happened to their mother.
"I guess they are waiting for Dominic Badaracco to die so they won't have to prosecute anybody," Ms. Profeta said.
Citing the arrest warrant affidavit for Dominic Badaracco, Ms. Cruz had argued Joan Badaracco transferred the money for the alleged bribe, and Mr. Richter provided him with the cellphone used to call Judge Brunetti, who had once served as the attorney for their roofing and siding business.
Disclosure of their testimony was needed to determine if they should be charged with perjury, Ms. Cruz argued.
The three judges, Jon Alander, Carl Taylor and Hillary Strackbein, disagreed and said even if Ms. Cruz were granted access to the transcripts, she lacked the authority to determine if a crime had been committed.
That power resides with the state's attorney who conducted the investigation and who has access to the entire record of the investigation, they said.
Mary Badaracco was declared legally dead in 1990, six years after she vanished without a trace from the Wakeman Hill Road home she shared with her husband.