A 39-year-old Ellington mother-of-two, Connie Dabate, was found shot to death in the basement of the house she shared with her husband, Richard Dabate, who was present in the house at the time of the attack two days before Christmas in 2015.
Connie's 40-year-old husband, Richard, claimed that a masked man with a Vin Diesel-like voice broke into their home and shot his wife while their two young sons were at school. He was found with minor and external knife wounds, bound with zip ties to a folding chair.
However, an investigation into the murder revealed shocking details about Richard Dabate, an alleged affair, a surprising pregnancy, and some digital footprints sufficient to incriminate him in the case. Moreover, all the evidence found seemed to contradict the husband's narrative.
An upcoming episode of NBC Dateline will look into the 2015 shooting death of Connie Dabate. The episode, titled The Secrets of Birch View Drive, will air this Friday, January 6, 2023, at 9 pm ET.
Two days before Christmas, Connie Dabate was shot twice inside her Ellington home
On December 23, 2015, 39-year-old Connie Dabate, the mother of two young sons, was found gunned down in the basement of her Ellington, Connecticut, home. She was shot twice with a .357 magnum, once in the back of the head. Her husband, Richard, was reportedly present inside the house when the incident occurred.
Richard Dabate was discovered on the kitchen floor with one arm and a leg tied to a folding chair with zip ties and superficial knife wounds. He told authorities that a masked man dressed in camouflage broke into the couple's Ellington house, murdered his wife, and tied him to a chair and that he only averted death by torching his attacker.
Connie Dabate's husband told authorities that he dropped his two young sons at the bus stop, went home to pick up a "work shirt," and then departed for work at around 8.30 am. Richard informed officers that his wife was still at home getting ready for a YMCA exercise class. Data on her Fitbit indicated that she left for her class at about 8.46 am.
He also mentioned that when he returned home at about 9 am to collect his laptop, he noticed a masked man, around 6-foot-2, dressed entirely in camouflage, with gloves on. He said the intruder "manhandled" and assaulted him with a blowtorch. The intruder then tied him to a chair and stabbed him with a boxcutter.
Richard claimed that the intruder went downstairs to the basement, chasing Connie after she returned home. He allegedly stumbled down the stairs, rushing behind them when he heard a gunshot. The intruder also tried to point the gun at him, but he "wrestled" with him and torched his face in the process. The man then fled the scene, after which the husband dialed 911.
How did authorities incriminate Connie Dabate's husband as her killer?
According to state police, Connie Dabate's husband provided a timeline of events that contradicted data from his wife's Fitbit, which showed she was walking around for approximately an hour after he said she was fatally shot. Moreover, authorities found no traces of a struggle inside the residence.
During the investigation, Richard Dabate acknowledged having an extramarital affair that resulted in a pregnancy. However, he was evasive about whether his wife was aware of the affair or unplanned pregnancy outside of their marriage. Furthermore, authorities discovered that in the days leading up to the murder, he texted his girlfriend endearments along with a promise to divorce Connie.
In April 2017, more than 16 months after Connie's murder, her husband was arrested and charged with felony counts of murder, evidence tampering, and giving false statements to the police, to which he pleaded not guilty. Richard Dabate was only recently found guilty of murder and other charges in May 2022 and was sentenced to 65 years in prison.
Tune in to NBC Dateline this Friday, January 6, 2023.