Police await forensic data on Westport house party assault
On Feb. 7, an 18-year-old man was found lying unconscious in the driveway of a Hillspoint Road house. He suffered facial and head trauma. The Fairfield University freshman was sprawled on the pavement for as long as 40 minutes in below-freezing temperatures until police found him about 1 a.m. when they were dispatched to investigate an alarm triggered at the house. There, officers broke up a party attended by more than 100 people. He was sent to the intensive care unit at Norwalk Hospital.
The problem is, no one seems to know who assaulted the student or why. The student, himself, can't remember.
Months have passed since the alleged assault, but investigators were stymied by a number of factors. Now, police are waiting on forensic evidence to be analyzed by Connecticut's forensic science laboratory. Once they get the results of that analysis, and if the results confirm the investigation to date, warrants may be issued for two people of interest.
"Coupled with the information we already have and evidence that we obtained throughout the investigation, this is something we're looking at to solidify some of our theories," said Lt. Vincent Penna.
He said it's uncertain when the results will come in, since there's only one forensics laboratory in the state and the workflow is based on the seriousness of the crime, with homicides taking precedence.
The two persons of interest include a Fairfield University student and a Manhattanville College student. They have not been identified, pending formal charges. After the assault, both left the state and hired lawyers. In February, Penna said the lawyers weren't initially forthcoming in letting police conduct interviews, but blood samples from the two suspects have since been obtained.
"There was a lot of unknowns [about that night] and that to us, is frustrating," Penna said. "You had an eclectic mix of people, students of several universities, all meeting at one place. You had people fleeing in different directions, not all at once. You also had very young people that were highly inebriated, which doesn't bode well for the memory."
The victim suffered from post-traumatic amnesia, Penna said, so he could not remember what happened that night.
The party at 80 Hillspoint Road was held by Brian Chung, also a Fairfield University freshman. In a February interview with the Westport News, Penna described a chaotic scene when officers arrived at the party. After an alarm accidentally activated about midnight, which alerted the police, a crowd of about 100 -- the majority of them under the legal drinking age -- rushed outside. Taxis were arriving. They fled in many directions.
After investigating the party, officers circled the neighborhood in search of party goers straggling in nearby woods or on neighborhood streets. A patrol car passed the house again about 40 minutes later and was flagged down. At some point during that period, the assault occurred.
As police await the lab tests, three arrests were made stemming from the party but not the assault itself. Chung, an 18-year-old and party host whose parents were out of the country, was arrested April 20. Martin Marosy, 19, of Worcester, Mass., and Michael Powell, 18, of Canton, Mass., were arrested April 22. All three charged with possession of alcohol, with Powell also charged with misrepresentation of age to procure liquor. They were each released on $10,000 bail and will appear April 29 in Norwalk Superior Court.
"Our immediate priority was to focus on the assault and when we had a minute to catch our breath, we went back and ... took care of the loose ends," Penna said.