FAIRFIELD, Conn. – A lawyer in this quiet suburban community was charged with killing a 58-year-old neighbor he suspected had molested his 2-year-old daughter, prompting police to investigate whether the molestation actually occurred.
"We have no indication it's true or not true," Capt. Gary MacNamara said Wednesday, adding that authorities had not received a complaint about the neighbor before the killing.
Jonathon Edington is accused of stabbing neighbor Barry James to death on Monday after his wife told him that James had inappropriate contact with the child.
"The daughter gave the mother information which was alarming and disturbing. The mom relayed it to her husband. That was the spark," said Edington's attorney, Michael Sherman.
Police said Edington, 29, climbed through James' bedroom window and stabbed him nearly a dozen times in the chest. James' 87-year-old mother, who lives in the house, discovered his body.
Peter Ambrose, an attorney for James' family, said the molestation claim is unsubstantiated.
"There's nothing that would arouse any suspicion," Ambrose told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It's totally without precedent. It's just unfounded. It comes as a complete surprise to his family."
Police had gone to the neighborhood before, when Edington called to complain that he could see James through a window, police said. "Either he was partly clothed or revealed parts of his anatomy that were inappropriate," MacNamara said.
Edington, a graduate of Syracuse University and Fordham University Law School, has no criminal record, police said. James served two days in prison in May 2001 on a drunken driving charge, according to the state Department of Correction.
Pat Wysocki, a neighbor who has known the James family for 39 years, described Barry James as a "very nice fellow" who worked for a funeral home and said she found it hard to believe he would molest a child.
"But then again, you don't know," she said.