Norwich man charged with manslaughter in Jan. 3 'domestic incident'

·3 min read

Sep. 23—NORWICH — A Norwich man has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in a January "domestic incident" after which the victim died.

In a news release Wednesday, Norwich police said they arrested Michael Gervais, 57, of 245 Dunham St.

Police said that on Jan. 3 about 6:45 p.m., officers were dispatched to 76 Newton St., where the incident had taken place. "The victim was transported to William Backus Hospital for head injuries," the release continues. Police noted that the victim died on Jan. 17 after succumbing to the injuries she sustained.

City police late Wednesday identified the victim as Patricia Sullivan, 61, of 76 Newton St.

Filed by Detective Peter Karasuk, the arrest warrant affidavit describes how Gervais initially called the police because he said his girlfriend — Sullivan is referred to in the affidavit as "the victim" — had had a stroke. He said she'd "banged her head four or five times" during "the past four or five days."

She was transported to Backus Hospital and later to Hartford Hospital's Critical Care Unit because her condition was deteriorating.

On Jan. 4 Detective Kevin Wilbur interviewed the victim's son, who said when in the hospital that she gained consciousness in front of him and nurses and said "she was assaulted and pushed back by her boyfriend."

"When the victim was pushed she fell and the back of her head struck a door knob on a pantry door in the hallway causing the door knob to break off," the affidavit reads. She "came to" lying on the floor next to the doorknob.

On Jan. 20, when interviewed by police while on his porch, Gervais claimed Sullivan had told him over the phone that she was in the hospital because she fell and hit her head on the glass doorknob. He refused consent when Wilbur asked for his cellphone to inspect its contents.

Police executed a search and seizure warrant Jan. 22 at Gervais's residence. His phone was seized, as was a glass doorknob which, he told police, he'd switched from the pantry door to the basement door.

On Jan. 23 Gervais agreed to an interview at police headquarters. He was not under arrest at the time. He told police that Sullivan was an alcoholic and sometimes verbal arguments between them "also included pushing and shoving each other." He said she was drunk and tried to start a fight with him Jan. 3 before he left to work at Electric Boat.

"He tried to walk past her and he belly bumped her so that he could get to his bedroom," the affidavit reads. He said he heard Sullivan fall but didn't look back. He said this happened at 1 p.m. According to interviews with his brother and his roommate, he didn't call the police until 6:30 p.m., when Gervais's brother came over with his girlfriend at Gervais's behest. They urged him to call 911.

Karasuk reviewed medical records related to the victim on May 5 — they showed Sullivan to be coherent on Jan. 7 and Jan. 12, when she sent critical text messages. On July 1, Karasuk was told by the Medical Examiner's office that the cause of death involved "blunt impact injuries" to the head, and the manner of death was determined to be a homicide.

Police served the warrant for his arrest to Gervais at his home on Wednesday. He is being held on a $150,000 bond and will appear in court on Thursday.

Gervais was charged in 2020 with third-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor, and in 2010 with third-degree assault and breach of peace. He pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree breach of peace in 2020.

s.spinella@theday.com

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