NEWINGTON - The attorney for the Gilbert Road man accused of killing his wife is calling for an investigation into the death of his client, Michael Torbicki, who committed suicide in a prison hospital ward early Monday.
Torbicki was on court-ordered suicide watch in a state prison hospital ward when he committed suicide by hanging, attorney Jon Schoenhorn said. “I’m calling for a thorough, independent, outside investigation, because this type of thing just can’t happen,” Schoenhorn said.
Torbicki has been in a medical wing of a maximum security prison since his arrest on a murder charge in the death of his wife, Patricia, who was found with fatal gunshot wounds in the front door of the couple’s home on Sept. 21.
Police believe Torbicki, 45, shot his wife in the leg in their bedroom and then chased her to the front door where he shot her in the head. He then shot himself in the face and lay seriously wounded on the floor as police swarmed the area and tried to determine his whereabouts. He was found a few hours later after police broke the windows and sent in cameras to check the house. “He had a nearly successful suicide attempt,” Schoenhorn said. “He was not only on a suicide watch, but in need of extra care.”
He was found by staff early Monday with a ligature tied around his neck during a routine tour, corrections officials said. Life-saving measures were started immediately and he was taken to St. Francis Hospital where he was later pronounced dead, correction officials said. He has been held at the Macdougall-Walker Correctional Institution since Oct. 13. The DOC’s Security Division is investigating the incident, corrections officials said.
During his arraignment which was done in a hospital room, Schoenhorn said Torbicki was a veteran who was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His wife had moved their teenage son to her parents’ home because of her husband’s drinking and bouts with depression, a warrant for Torbicki’s arrest said. But she had returned to the house to possibly to retain a stake in the property since her husband wanted a divorce, police said.
Despite his “predicament,” Schoenhorn said. “He was in better spirits and working with my office on his defense.”
Torbicki was being held on $2 million bond and was expected to appear in New Britain Superior Court by video conference Wednesday.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.