OLR Research Report

June 6, 2001





By: Jack J. Burriesci, Legislative Fellow

You asked for a brief summary of the crimes committed by the people on Connecticut's death row.


Seven people are currently sentenced to death in Connecticut – Robert Breton, Sedrick Cobb, Ivo Colon, Richard Reynolds, Todd Rizzo, Michael Ross, and Daniel Webb. We searched Hartford Courant articles and the sections below describe the crimes committed by each of these people.


Robert Breton, Sr. was sentenced to death in 1989. He was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of capital felony for the December 13, 1987 beating and stabbing deaths of his 38-year-old ex-wife, JoAnn Breton, and their 16-year-old son, Robert Breton, Jr.

In the early-morning of December 13, 1987, Robert Breton, Sr. entered the Waterbury apartment that his ex-wife rented after their divorce 11 months earlier. Surprising her while she slept, Breton slashed at her with a sharp, 5-inch knife and pounded her with his fists. JoAnn Breton scrambled across the room. Her ex-husband followed and killed her by thrusting the knife through her neck, opening a major artery.

Robert Breton, Jr. heard his mother's screams and ran into her room, where his father attacked him. Bleeding from his arms, hands, and fingers, the younger Breton tried to escape down a flight of stairs. But his father pursued him, overtaking him at the bottom of the staircase and continuing the attack. Robert, Jr. bled to death from a wound that severed his carotid artery. Police found him, clad only in his underwear, at the bottom of the stairs, his head propped against a wall.


Sedrick Cobb was sentenced to death in 1991. The former deliveryman from Naugatuck was convicted of rape and murder of 23-year-old Julia Ashe, whom he kidnapped from a Waterbury department store parking lot on December 16, 1989.

Cobb flattened one tire of her car using a valve stem remover and, when she returned, offered to help her change the tire. When he asked her for a ride to his car, she obliged. He then forced her at knifepoint to drive to a secluded road and raped her. He then bound and gagged her with fiberglass tape and carried her to a concrete dam. He pushed her and she fell 23 feet into the shallow, icy water below.

She managed to free her hands by rubbing the tape across wire mesh protruding from the concrete and gouged her face trying in vain to remove the tape across her mouth. When she tried to crawl up the bank to freedom Cobb forced her, face down, back into the water. Her ice-encrusted body was found Christmas Day.


Ivo Colon was sentenced to death in 2000. He was convicted of capital felony for the beating death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter, Keriana Tellado, in Waterbury.

Colon killed the 32-pound girl by beating her head against a bathroom wall, holding her up by the hair when she could no longer stand. Keriana's mother, Virginia Quintero, awaits trial on manslaughter and risk of injury charges. Police say Quintero did nothing to stop the fatal beating inside her apartment.


Richard Reynolds, a Brooklyn, New York crack dealer, was sentenced to death in 1995 for the December 18, 1992 murder of Waterbury police officer Walter T. Williams.

Officer Williams had stopped Reynolds, and when Williams went to search him, Reynolds pulled a gun from his pocket and shot the officer once in back of the head. Prosecutors proved that before firing, Reynolds bumped into Williams to see if he was wearing a bulletproof vest.


Todd Rizzo was sentenced to death in 1999. The former U.S. Marine was convicted of killing 13-year-old Stanley Edwards of Waterbury with a 3-pound sledgehammer in September 1997 because he wanted to see what killing someone felt like. Rizzo was 18 years old when he committed the crime.


Michael Ross was sentenced to death in 1987. Ross, a former insurance salesman from Jewett City and a Cornell University graduate, admitted raping and killing eight women, six of them in Connecticut. He was convicted of raping and murdering four women.

The Connecticut Supreme Court upheld his conviction but threw out the death sentence. A jury reimposed the death sentence on April 6, 2000.


Daniel Webb was sentenced to death in 1991. He was convicted of kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder for the slaying of Diane Gellenbeck, a 37-year-old Connecticut National Bank vice president.

Webb, driving a car he had borrowed from his girlfriend, kidnapped Gellenbeck from a downtown Hartford parking garage midday on August 24, 1989, while she was en route to a meeting.

He drove her to Keney Park in the city's North End, attempted to rape her, and then shot her five times when she broke free and tried to run. Witnesses testified that the last shots were fired at close range as Gellenbeck crawled across the grass. Webb fired the final shot point-blank into her face.