Skip to comments.He wanted to kill someone — and did
Posted on 05/21/2005 8:15:29 AM PDT by Graybeard58
WATERBURY -- From the bedroom window of his Marion Avenue home, Todd Rizzo watched children come and go and knew the times they would go by as he obsessed about killing someone.
A year after being sentenced to die for killing 13-year-old Stanley Edwards, a neighborhood boy Rizzo spotted while the boy was out for a ride on his bicycle, Rizzo told a television reporter his obsession to kill began when he was 13 in middle school and continued through his high school years.
He thought that by enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps, his obsession would subside. Whether it did is unclear. But it re-emerged when he was discharged.
On Sept. 30, 1997, two weeks after being discharged from the Marines, Rizzo acted on that obsession to kill, and bludgeoned Stanley to death with a sledgehammer. He struck the boy a dozen times.
The April 2000 telephone interview, taped by Shelly Sindland of WTIC-Fox 61 television, was played at Waterbury Superior Court on Friday during the fourth day of Rizzo's penalty hearing.
This is Rizzo's second penalty phase hearing. In 1999, a jury sentenced him to die. In 2003, the state Supreme Court overturned that sentence because Judge William Holden did not instruct jurors that aggravating factors had to outweigh mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt to make death the appropriate sentence. The sentence was also overturned because of statements State's Attorney John Connelly made during closing arguments. This second penalty phase hearing is to determine only if Rizzo should live or die. His guilt is not the question.
Rizzo talked nonchalantly during the telephone interview and answered Sindland's questions without hesitation. She asked him what it was like to be on death row, whether he had a relationship with other men on death row and what he felt about being put to death. She asked him about killing Stanley and what the boy's last words were.
Rizzo talked about his day in jail, rising at 7 a.m., watching television and going to bed whenever he wanted. He said he got used to the constant banging he hears in prison, was writing 50 to 60 pages of fiction almost nightly and hadn't been outside since being sentenced in August 1999. He told the reporter of smelling Stanley's blood for a "whole month" and the gurgling sound the boy made when the first blow of the sledgehammer connected with his head.
"When he got hit, it was like, taking a sip of beer and letting out air, like he got the wind knocked out of him. He turned around and spun around like a windmill. It was pitch black. I never saw myself killing him. It was pitch black." But at some point during the interview, he said the moon was out.
In September 1999, Sindland wrote to death row inmates because the state was preparing the lethal injection chamber for Michael Ross, a serial killer, who was put to death by lethal injection last week.
Rizzo told Sindland he did not know Ross was a serial killer but considered Jeffrey Dahmer "my father" and studied other serial killings. "It was like when I made my decision I was going to do it; it wasn't going to be anyone I knew. When Stanley showed up, I exploded. There was no one around, and I thought it was the perfect time. That is what I felt like."
Rizzo's 30 minute interview included conversations about having no feelings and wanting to be put to death. His feelings changed while in jail when he fell in love with a high school girl and they planned to marry before the engagement broke off.
With a love in his life, Rizzo told Sindland he began to have feelings about having killed someone, wondered what Stanley's mother was going through and how he would feel if it had happened to someone in his family.
"They should have killed me before when they sentenced me. Punishment wasn't prison time, but death," Rizzo told Sindland.
Rizzo told the reporter before he dies, he wants to talk with Stanley's mother. He isn't sure what he'd say. Rizzo said he isn't the animal he was in 1997, but that he would die like an animal.
"Technically, my life is over. My life ended at age 18. This is my life from now on," Rizzo said in the interview with Sindland.
Rizzo said before he recognized Stanley that night, he knew he wanted to kill him. He had seen Stanley around the neighborhood and had come to think of him as a friendly, outspoken kid. "I remember one day he said he heard I got out of the Marine Corps. I almost snapped, and told him to mind his business. When he showed up, we started talking. It didn't matter who he was, I had to kill that night."
Rizzo said he saw a woman look out a window and thought he couldn't go through with it. Then he asked Stanley if he wanted to see snakes in his backyard. Rizzo said he went to get a flashlight, which was near the sledgehammer.
"I wasn't sure I was going to do it. Stanley was giving up because he didn't see any snakes. He said they were probably gone because it was dark out and that is when it happened. I was standing on a ledge above him. My knees were parallel to the back of his neck. He never turned around. I was shaking. I remember looking up at the moon. It was like it wasn't even me."
Rizzo swung the sledgehammer down on the boy's skull, jumped on his back and pummeled him a total of 12 times.
Rizzo told Sindland he began to feel regret about killing Stanley in March or April of 1999 when his high school friend came back into his life.
But in a letter written from his jail cell to a Marine buddy two weeks after the killing, Rizzo bragged about achieving his "second goal in life."
Sindland was the second witness called by the state. The first was John Fleischer, his Marine buddy, of Canada. Fleischer was questioned about his relationship with Rizzo after getting Rizzo's letter, dated Oct. 10, 1997, that also included a news article about the killing.
In the letter, Rizzo said: "Well, let's say, you might be reading about me one day. Just add me to your long list of famous killers, like Jeffrey Dahmer, Mr. John Gacy, Henry Lucas, and so on. Yes, from the news article inclosed (sic), you'll learned (sic), I've been arrested for murdering a 13 yr old boy. I beat the backside of his skull in with a sledgehammer in my backyard and dropped his body on a side road w/his head wrapped in a plastic bag. So way back in July, when me, you, Jones and Sims talked about the truth if we could actually kill another person? Well, I did. That knocks off number two on my goal list."
Rizzo told Fleischer he'd keep him informed. He goes on to say he was on the "entire front page of my paper and on many other papers and all over the news! I am sorry for what I've done, because my life is now over. Im (sic) either facing life in prison with no parroll (sic) or the death sentence which in CT is lethal injection. Anyway, now that my life is through, How's your's doing?"
After testimony by Fleischer and Sindland and the tape was played in court, the state rested its case.
Rizzo's attorneys Ronald Gold and David Channing gave the court a list of up to 35 witnesses they plan to call including Rizzo's father. The hearing will resume Tuesday morning.
Wow what a fruitcake.
It would be better if I never read this!
Pure, Unadulterated, Evil.
My thoughts exactly, made my stomach churn....
We need to bring back public hanging.
Fruitcake is good.. I like it..
This guy doesn't deserve to be called fruitcake..
Fruitcake is too good for him..
I'd call him a loon but that'd be insulting loons... pond scum too ;-)
You ain't kidding-- and this is a poster boy for reviving the practice. I'd be honored to personally spring the trap-door on a POS like this.
This is why the death penalty is so expensive. No matter how heinous the crime, and how unquestionably guilty the scumbag killer who did it, the scumbag lawyers and other scumbag lawyers in black robes will not be denied their years of semantics games. And we all foot the bill.
This animal needed killed the week of his confession.
I may look this up later, but would like to know what statements the prosecutor made that warranted overturning the sentence. Thanks for the post. A sick but fascinating look into the face of evil. I feel like I need a shower now, ugh.
The temptation is to say he's crazy, and some posters are already doing that. But the people most likely to buy that are the ones who do not believe there is such a thing as evil, even when it hits them in the head with a sledgehammer.
Can anyone make sense of these reasons for overturning the prior death sentence? Aggravating factors outweighing mitigating factors and statements the prosecutor made during the trial?????
For what it's worth, I think I recall he was bootd from the Corp.
Sounds like this perp existed without any emotion in his whole life except when he thought he was engaged to a high school girl. Only then did he feel something. (shutter)
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