Slayer Jailed for 8-10 Years (Connecticut, USA, 11 July 1960)

Manslaughter Plea Accepted in Death of Female Impersonator

The Bridgeport Telegram (25 January, 1961, Pages 1 and 2)

Slayer Jailed for 8-10 Years


Manslaughter Plea Accepted in Death of Female Impersonator


James Bennett, accused slayer of a female impersonator during a street fight last July 11, was sentenced to serve from eight to 10 years in State prison yesterday.

The 22-year-old Bennet, of 202 Hough avenue, had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter in Superior court, although a Grand Jury had indicted him for second degree murder last fall.

In imposing the penalty, Judge Joseph E. Klau declared Bennet was the aggressor in a brief scuffle which ended with the fatal stabilty of Moses Riley, also known as Moselle Riley, 19 of 477 State street.

Defense Plea Rejected

Judge Klau rejected a defense plea that Bennett was motivated by "pain and anger" after being bitten on the forearm by Riley, pointing out the slain youth apparently was acting in self-defense when confronted with the knife.

The fight took place outside Hall's restaurant, 28 Drouve street, in the early morning hours, but what precipitated the brawl was not disclosed.

State's Attorney Otto J. Saur said Riley was "well known as a female impersonator" and was attired in female apparel when killed. The prosecutor said death was caused by a stab wound to the heart and that Riley had bled to death.

However, Mr. Saur said the general background of the case had persauded him to accept a guilty plea to manslaughter rather than a trial for murder, but recommended sentence of at least eight years.

Pleading for his client, Bridgeport lawyer Raymond Blank said Bennett received a "horrendous" bit in the scuffle and had been hit over the heat with a high heel shoe.

The lawyer asked Bennett to roll up his shirt sleeve and show the purported teeth marks, which Judge Klau observed without comment.

"Well, what would you expect him (Riley) to do under the circumstances?" Judge Klau asked Mr. Blank. "Your client had a knife in his hand when he was bitten." Mr. Blank said his plea was based on the thought that the knifing had been the result of the bite.


The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1961-01-25 - slaying-01.PNG

The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1961-01-25 - slaying-02.PNG

The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1961-01-25 - slaying-03.PNG