Jeffrey Boyette, 23, the eighth suspect in the 1997 rape and slaying of 13 year old Maryann Measles of New Milford, was presented in court on charges that include conspiracy to commit murder. He was arrested in Texas and was returned to Connecticut after waiving extradition.  Prosecutors believe Boyette and the seven other suspects identified as Alan Walter, Jr., 25, Deaneric Dupas, 28, Maggie Mae Bennett, 25, Ronald Rajcok, 30, Dorothy Hallas, 23, Keith Foster, 27 and June Segar Bates, 23, (ages at the time of crime) were part of a gang of friends that kidnapped and killed Maryann after she accused two men in the group of statutory rape.  The girl's decomposed body was found wrapped in a blanket and chains at Lake Lillinonah in Bridgewater, Connecticut on July 15, 1998, nine months after she disappeared.  Two of the suspects are charged with capital felonies, and could face the death penalty if convicted.  Boyette, formerly of New Milford, is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, tampering with a witness and risk of injury to a minor.  He was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bond and his case was transferred to Litchfield Superior Court where he is to be arraigned on November 6.  He did not enter a plea.

Walter copped a plea February 19, 2004, to spare his own life.  He is the first of the eight to admit the killing and pleaded guilty to six counts of felony murder.  Prosecutors agreed to seek a life term, equivalent to 60 years in prison, instead of the death penalty.  In addition to the felony murder count, Walter pleaded guilty to kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, conspiracy to commit sexual assault and tampering with a witness.  He gave police a videotaped confession in which he demonstrated how he held the girl's head in the Housatonic River in a remote spot outside their hometown of New Milford.  Walter was sentenced April 28, 2004, to life in prison.  

Bennett pleaded guilty March 11.  She entered the plea in response to charges of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, kidnapping, tampering with a witness, tampering with evidence and risk of injury to a minor.  Under the agreement, she will be sentenced to between 15 to 20 years in prison.  She is the second defendant to plead guilty in the case, agreed to cooperate against the six remaining defendants, and her sentencing will be deferred until those cases are resolved.

The first trial stemming from the gang rape and murder opened on April 4, 2006, with prosecutors showing the jury photos of Maryann's body taken shortly after she was pulled from the river.  Foster, now 29, faces a number of charges, including murder and felony murder.

(Waterbury, Connecticut)