NEW HAVEN >> Matthew Pugh again brought his copy of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking” to court Thursday, but it didn’t prevent Superior Court Judge Jon M. Alander from sentencing him to serve 15 years in prison for robbing and shooting a Yale graduate student on her first day in New Haven in 2008.
Defense attorney Thomas Farver asked Alander to make the sentence concurrent with the 60 years Pugh already is serving for murdering his former girlfriend, Alexandra Ducsay, in Milford, rather than make the new sentence consecutive.
But Alander said he needed to “send a message to others that committing armed robbery in the streets of New Haven and shooting a victim carries a significant sentence.”
Alander acknowledged the additional 15 years “could be viewed as serving no practical purpose” since Pugh is 44. “But it will serve the goal of deterrence, to discourage others” from contemplating such crimes.
Alander said he also took into consideration Pugh’s extensive criminal record. “You have a history of assaultive behavior, including the most serious of all: murder.”
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney John Waddock described what happened that evening on Edwards Street in the city’s East Rock neighborhood.
“She was walking down the street on Aug. 21, 2008, looking for an apartment,” Waddock said. “She was approached from behind by the defendant, who demanded her handbag while displaying a handgun. There was a brief struggle over the bag.”
“He shot her in her hand,…
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