The only defendant who has not entered a plea in the 2010 murder of Matthew Chew said Friday that he is unwilling to accept a state offer to plead to a lesser charge and serve eight years in prison.
Marquis Singleton, 19, appeared in New London Superior Court. After a lengthy discussion with his attorney, he confirmed that he was not prepared to accept a state offer to plead to first-degree manslaughter and serve 16 years in prison, suspended after eight years, with five years of probation.
Singleton is one of two defendants charged with murder in the case. The other defendant, 19-year-old Idris Elahi, entered an Alford plea to murder on Feb. 22 and was sentenced to 35 years in prison on May 23.
The same offer has been extended to two other defendants who were initially charged with accessory to murder. Brian Rabell and Tyree Bundy, both 20, accepted the offer on Dec. 12 and Wednesday, respectively. Matias Perry and Rashad Perry—both 19 and unrelated—also pleaded to manslaughter on Nov. 29 and Dec. 10, respectively. Neither man cooperated with the police investigation into Chew’s murder and each received sentences of 20 years, suspended after 15 years, with five years of probation.
Chew, 25, was stabbed six times while walking from his job at 2 Wives Pizza to his Washington Street apartment on the evening of Oct. 29, 2010. He died early the next morning after he was flown to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
According to court testimony and the police affidavit, the group met at Elahi’s home on the evening of the murder and decided to go into New London to assault a random person after they became bored. During Elahi’s probable cause hearing, three defendants said Matias dared Elahi to stab someone and that the two started to make an oath before others stopped them.
According to the affidavit, Singleton initially told police that he was walking downtown alone to return an iPod to a girl and that he saw a group of men outside of 35 Union Street. He said he met Bundy later and they returned home. Other defendants identified Singleton as taking part in the assault, and Matias’ girlfriend told police that Matias said Singleton had a box cutter and that he and Elahi stabbed Chew.
Singleton admitted to taking part in the assault at Elahi’s probable cause hearing and said he saw Elahi leave the house with a knife. He said he did not know that Chew had been killed until the next morning.
Judge Susan B. Handy said Singleton will face up to 60 years in prison if convicted of murder at trial. She said a conviction would only require the state to prove that he took part in the discussion about assaulting someone and that he was present at the scene of the stabbing, and that prosecutors would likely be able to prove these points through Singleton’s prior testimony.
“This is a huge decision, Mr. Singleton, a huge decision,” she said, “which will change your life, or whatever life you have after this.”
Handy said normally she would be willing to accept the rejection of a state offer, but urged Singleton to reconsider. He will return to court for a final decision on Thursday.
“Think long and hard about what we’ve just talked about here and use some common sense,” she said.