A New Chapter…. Timeline of a Fugitive… 22 Years of Secrecy!

Donna R. Gore, LadyJustice

Could Addie Carone have foreseen that the West Hartford Police would come knocking on her door after 22 years of torment?  Of course not…. There are many layers to this senseless homicide saga.  Today’s focus will be on the timeline that recently became available through the Freedom of Information Act – a 400 page document.  Please refer to former blogs for background information: Twenty Seven Minutes for Twenty Two Years of Agony and The Sins of a Son Fall on the Father

  • Adam Zachs murdered Peter Carone in 1987. [Ladyjustice attended this trial as a court escort with members of the Carone family.]
  • Zachs was convicted of first degree murder and was sentenced to 60 years. *** A pre-existing Connecticut state law allowed convicted murderers to post bail while awaiting appeal !!!
  • A “more than generous“ aunt posted a $250,000 bond, setting in motion a chain of events that would see no just conclusion until 2011!
  • Adam’s Zach’s father conspired to hide his son from authorities, using his employees at the C-Thru Ruler Company. As one example, Zachs made his escape and was driven  to New York City by employee Moses Alphonse;
  • Also accompanying Zachs was his girlfriend at the time, Carmen Mangual, whom he used for her Spanish speaking abilities;
  • Zachs also received vital assistance from his family such as weekly phone calls and a former C- Thru Ruler employee, Isador Bendrihem assisted in funneling money to Zachs;
  • Zachs began his life on the run in Mexico City (population 8.84 million);
  • Adams Zachs honed his skills in Spanish and started a business – “Hospital de Computadoras “Accesa” with an income of $300,000 to $400.000 annually;
  • Assumed names – Adam became Mitchell Robertson… and later changed his name to Ruben Fridman.

Family Life:

  • Zachs, who was 47 in 2011, had a 21 year old wife and two children from a previous marriage.  However, early on Carmen Mangual began dating Zachs immediately after the murder of Peter Carone and stayed in the relationship until late 1990, whereupon she went to Puerto Rico;
  • Intimate partner violence appeared to be present as Ms. Mangual’s accounts included controlling behavior, inability to make phone calls, isolation from her family resulting in depression;

Aiding and Abetting:

  • The fugitive moved often… Zach’s brother, Neil and family also travelled from New Jersey to visit him;
  • Adam’s father, Frederick, called weekly in the beginning and then the calls were more infrequent as time went on;
  • Additional assistance came from a Mexican immigration attorney and a Rabbi;
  • Moses Alphonse, his wife and a taxi driver from Belize named Collet Maskall visited Zachs and delivered money at Fredrick Zach’s request;
  • Western Union transfers were also used;
  • Employees from C-Thru Ruler conspired by forwarding letters to Zachs in Mexico to check on his welfare.

The Search:

  • The West Hartford police headed by Police Chief James Strillacci never gave up!;
  • The Carone-Zachs case had been featured on “America’s Most Wanted” show four times over the years;
  • Although tips came in from several states, “the perp” was an avid watcher of the show and continued to elude law enforcement;
  • The State of Connecticut Department of Public Safety forensics lab tried to authenticate handwriting on photocopied envelopes addressed to Zachs. However, such attempts were inconclusive;
  • The FBI was involved… Until the attacks on September 11, 2011 focusing on terrorism,  such international effort and collaboration wasn’t part of the equation;
  • West Hartford Police received reliable information in 2006 from recorded phone conversations that Zachs was in Mexico City; He later moved to Leon, population 1.4 million people “which may have been part of his fatal mistakes.”
  •  In January 2006, Chief Strillacci requested assistance from the U.S. Marshall’s office in Connecticut and Washington, D.C. A partnership was formed and this forged new methods of investigation;

The Key to Success:

  • The fact that the search was focused solely in Mexico… and they were able to “follow the money trail” from Fred Zachs to his employees and then to Adam Zachs was imperative…and a turning point in the case;
  • Zachs was arrested by U.S. and Mexican officials at 3:50 p.m. on February 1, 2011 while he walked from his business to home;
  • Extradition delays occurred… A request was made to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to expedite the matter. It is uncertain if she interceded…                     We would hope so!
  • A deputy marshal accompanied Detective Puglielli – the detective who was in it for the long haul (six years).  They accompanied Adam Zachs on an Aeromexico flight to JFK airport in New York City;
  • Puglielli and another West Hartford detective drove Zachs from the airport to the Superior Court lock up in Hartford where he had a brief court appearance;
  • Zachs was sent directly to  McDougall-Walker Correctional facility  in Suffield, CT to begin serving his 60 year sentence;

Stats: McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution  is a level 4/5 high maximum security level multi-mission facility for adult males and is the largest correctional facility in New England. Population as of July, 1, 2011 – Accused– 397; Sentenced-1,726; Total- 2,123. Staffing as of 7-1-2011- 678. It “provides a highly structured environment to manage long term sentenced offenders, protective custody offenders and high bond unsentenced offenders with programs designed to address the needs of each population.”

The Perp” Talked… He Knew the Jig was up:

Zachs had a few close calls and eluded police .  But let’s not glorify his efforts….   He was careful for himself and very, very careless with wanton disregard for the lives of the Carone family!

When Addie Carone answered the door on February 2, 2011 and saw three officers at the door, it could only mean one thing…

Zachs was captured!  [LJ- Perhaps we will know  more on a future “Shattered Lives” show when this fine lady is available.]  A civil suit against Frederick Zachs is pending…

Postscript: The sad reprehensible and immoral Frederick Zachs was sentenced to a pitiful six months in Federal Prison for aiding and abetting the concealment of his son for 22 years. *** No one else was charged in this case as the statute  of limitations had run out!

 The Fictitious Fugitive- David Janssen:

Donna R. Gore, LadyJusticeDavid Janssen, a seemingly overlooked an underappreciated actor played the demanding role of Dr. Richard Kimble, accused of killing his wife.

Synopsis: Richard David Kimble was a pediatrician from Stafford, IN who in the 1960s became the most famous fugitive in memory. Born in 1930, Kimble joined the Marines and became a corpsman; in Korea he was injured by an enemy grenade but was rescued by soldier Joe Hallop, who was disfigured and mentally scarred by the battle enough to make an attempt on Kimble’s life many years later.

In 1955 Kimble interned at the hospital in Fairgreen, IN, where he met a nurse, Helen Waverly. They fell in love and soon married. However, when they tried to have a child, Helen bore a son, but their son was stillborn, and in the operation that followed, Helen Waverly-Kimble was rendered infertile.

Richard wished to adopt a child, but Helen, refusing to believe she could love another’s child, angrily refused, and the two quarreled with enough frequency that, on the night of September 19, 1961, Richard was about to take Helen out to a restaurant but let slip it was an eatery recommended by a member of an adoption clinic, which threw Helen into another rage. Kimble stormed out of their house and drove off, wandering about the countryside and noticing a boy fishing in a lake before relaxing.

Unknown to Richard, Helen telephoned their friend Lloyd Chandler and he visited their house, trying to calm her down after she had begun drinking furiously. A commotion in their living room brought Helen face-to-face with a heavyset drifter whose right arm was missing. The stranger – who was eventually identified as Fred Johnson – tried to escape but in the ensuing fight he threw down Helen then killed her with a massive blow to the head with a lamp. Chandler, freezing in fear, could not bring himself to intervene, and Johnson escaped out the front door while Chandler supinely snapped out of his funk and slipped out the back.

Johnson ran out and immediately ran into the returning Richard Kimble. Richard got enough of a look at Johnson’s face to have the image seared in his memory. When Johnson fled, Richard ran into the house and found Helen’s body. But interrogation by the office of Lt. Philip Gerard resulted in interviews of 83 men matching the description provided by Kimble, none of whom were in the area at the time of the murder. Kimble was convicted and sentenced to die, but after a year’s worth of appeals he was being escorted by Gerard to the death house in March 1963 when their train derailed.

The crash freed Kimble from Gerard, and he now became a fugitive, wandering the country and working odd jobs in his search for Fred Johnson.

During this series, Janssen’s show demanded 12-15 hour days, essentially appearing in every scene with filming 1-8 days per show, 30 shows per year.. Although the show was considered high quality, the actor was exhausted and declined a fifth year.  Janssen stated he’d “go home to study his lines and would fall asleep in his mashed potatoes.”  The final show received a 72% share of the audience (unbeaten for 13 years until the “Who Shot JR?” episode of “Dallas.)

Zachs versus Kimble:

The big difference between Adam Zachs alias Mitchel Robertson alias Ruben Fridman is that Dr. Kimball was a fictitious character and wrongfully accused, whereas Zachs, with his Napoleon complex, his short fuse and murderous ways finally caught up with his past!

References: Article by Amanda Falcon www.courant.com; February 5, 2012;                                                                                                                  www.donnagore.com; www.ct.gov-DOC McDougall-Walker CI; www.davidjanssen.net;                                             http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0003748/bio


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