Court date too late in murder-suicide


Frank Juliano, Staff Writer

Phttp://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Court-date-too-late-in-murder-suicide-475734.phpublished: 10:36 p.m., Wednesday, May 5, 2010

MILFORD -- Selami Ozdemir was supposed to be in court Wednesday for a hearing in his arrest for assaulting his wife last September.

But the case was quietly dismissed because Ozdemir, 41, shot and killed his wife and then himself in January, in a second, double-fatal spasm of violence.

The murder-suicide raised a lot of questions in West Haven's Turkish community, particularly about the handling by police of Shengyl Rasim's frantic call less than a half-hour before she was killed.

The 25-year-old woman told police that her estranged husband, who bailed himself out after being arrested for domestic violence the night before, was now banging on the apartment door demanding to be let in.

When police arrived, shortly before 4 a.m. on Jan. 17, they found the couple shot to death and their two young children barricaded in another room.

State's Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor said Wednesday that his staff is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the West Haven woman's death. "We have two goals,'' the prosecutor said. "To learn what happened here and to make recommendations on how such tragedies can be avoided in the future.''

Lawlor said the investigation is "progressing'' and should be concluded soon. A number of state and private agencies are cooperating with his staff and helping to compile data.

The dead man appeared on Wednesday's court docket so that the September charges of third-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor could be dismissed administratively, another court official said.

Ozdemir and Rasim, both Turkish immigrants, were known to be having problems and often had loud arguments in public, the couple's neighbors said. Despite the September arrest. Ozdemir was living in the apartment at 341 Blohm St. in West Haven. A protective order was supposed to keep him away after his arrest the day before the murder, until he could be arraigned in court on that Monday.

But the restaurant worker, in violation of the court order, had purchased a gun and returned home hours later. The case was one of a spate of high-profile domestic violence incidents last winter, including another murder-suicide.