NEWINGTON – Patricia and Michael Torbicki were on the verge of divorce when he killed her, according to a warrant for his arrest.
Michael Torbicki, 45, was charged with his wife’s murder in his hospital bed Thursday, police said. He has not been interviewed due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face that likely happened minutes after he shot his wife in the couple’s bedroom of their home at 52 Gilbert Road and then chased her through the living room to the front door, the warrant said. There he shot her in the head as she tried to flee barefoot in her pajamas, police said.
Patricia Torbicki had left her husband with their 13-year-old son on Aug. 28, according to family who spoke to police during the investigation into her death. But she had returned to the home on Sept. 18 by herself because she believed she needed to be living in the house for the future divorce litigation, the warrant said.
Michael Torbicki was an alcoholic who suffered from depression and mental health issues, the couple’s 13-year-old son told police. His mother had him staying at her parent’s house because she wanted him living in a better environment and not exposed to his father’s behaviors, the child said. His mother had told his father that he needed to get help or get out of the house, he said. She had asked him to find a new place to live, the boy said. But his father didn’t want to get help and he wanted a divorce, the boy told investigators. He last had contact with his father, an ex-Marine, by text on Sept. 16.
Michael Torbicki is being held on $2 million bond as he awaited his arraignment today in his hospital bed on a murder charge.
Patricia Torbicki, 46, was found by an elderly neighbor shot dead in the front door of her home the morning of Sept. 21. The discovery prompted a massive police presence in the quiet neighborhood off Willard Avenue as officers tried to determine if Michael Torbicki was still in the house and if he was armed.
He was found seriously injured from a gunshot wound to the face about three hours later. Police had to break the windows of their home and send in a camera to determine if Michael Torbicki was still inside the house armed. He has spent weeks at a Hartford trauma hospital.
Nearly immediately, police called Patricia Torbicki’s death a homicide and named her husband as a suspect. She died from a shotgun blast to her head and lower right extremity, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Michael Torbicki could often be seen playing basketball with his son and other kids, neighbors said. “He was a good person,” said a neighbor the day after the murder. “I think he just snapped.” He was a veteran who often marched in the town’s Memorial Day parade, she said.
Patricia Torbicki was remembered by hundreds at a vigil held in town after her death. She was also memorialized during the Prudence Crandall Center’s annual “Silent No More” candlelight vigil last week. The annual vigil recognizes the state residents who have been killed during domestic violence incidents in the past year.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.