Homeless man released after deadly fight; bond dropped after autopsy complete
STAMFORD — A Norwalk homeless man, who was held this week on a $100,000 court-appearance bond after being implicated in the death of another man, was released Thursday morning after it was determined an altercation between the two had nothing to do with the other man’s demise, police said.
Police have also released the name of the man who died last weekend as Anthony Santiago.
Ricky Hickman, 57, had a morning hearing Thursday before Judge Gary White at the Stamford courthouse where it was revealed that an autopsy on Santiago determined a push by Hickman was not the cause of the man’s death, Assistant State’s Attorney Mike Nemec said.
When Hickman was arraigned on Monday morning, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Valdes said police in Norwalk were concerned that some marks found around the neck of Santiago, 30, could have revealed foul play as to the cause of his death.
Following his arraignment, Hickman was not due back in court until April 29 but was returned earlier after the autopsy was competed.
Valdes said it was Hickman who called 911 after Santiago, who was also homeless, did not get up after the two had an altercation in the Webster Street parking lot late on Saturday.
Nemec said Hickman told investigating officers that he pushed Santiago during the altercation and told the 911 dispatcher that Santiago would not get up afterwards. The push, however, did not lead to Santiago’s death, Nemec said in court Thursday morning.
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek said an autopsy did not reveal the cause of Santiago’s death and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is awaiting a toxicology report to wrap up its investigation.
Although the original charges of second-degree assault and criminal trespassing remain lodged against Hickman, the results of the autopsy allowed the state to reduce Hickman’s bond to a promise to appear in court and he was released.
White asked Liz Reid, Norwalk’s lead public defender, if she would be able to get Hickman back to the Open Door shelter where he resides in Norwalk and Reid said she would.
No plea has been made to the charges and the case was returned to the Part B docket in Norwalk.