Stamford convict extradited after 16 years in Haiti
Updated 4:18 pm, Monday, November 6, 2017
STAMFORD — Since he left Connecticut during a snow storm in February 2001, Franz Barthelemy fell in love, fathered four children, opened up a store in Port Au Prince, Haiti and did security work for the Red Cross after the devastating earthquake there in 2010.
His family insists that over the past 16 years the Westhill High School graduate lived a model, law-abiding life on the Caribbean island under his real name until his past caught up to him about a month ago.
At an arraignment at the Stamford courthouse on Monday, State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo said Barthelemy, 39, fled the jurisdiction on the last day of his trial in 2001 to face charges of the attempted murder of William Regan in Stamford.
Colangelo, who was prosecuting the case against Barthelemy said that in February 2001 he and defense attorney Matthew Maddox had finished their closing arguments in the case when it began to snow outside.
Colangelo said instead of sending the jury in to begin their deliberations, the late Judge Martin Nigro decided to send the group home.
“Attorney Maddox and I came back the next day. He didn’t,” Colangelo told Judge John Blawie.
The next day the jury found Barthelemy not guilty of attempted murder, but convicted him of attempted first-degree assault with a gun and carrying a pistol without a permit.
On the same day he was found guilty, Barthelemy hopped a jet to Haiti and was not seen in Stamford again until Monday, Colangelo said.
A few months later, Nigro sentenced Barthelemy to 16 years in prison — 11 of which were the mandatory minimum sentence, Colangelo said.
Colangelo said some U.S. Marshals were in his office a couple months ago and he mentioned to them that Barthelemy was still at large and believed to be in Haiti. About two weeks later he received word that the marshals found him.
Colangelo asked Judge Blawie to order Barthelemy be held on a $250,000 court appearance bond for failing to appear in court. Maddox asked that the judge set a bond that could be reduced later.
But Blawie balked, saying that in some cases he would do that. In this case he said, “We are not talking about the presumption of innocence. We are talking about justice delayed here. It cannot be denied, but it has been delayed. He has to at some point begin serving the sentence imposed by the late Judge Nigro.”
Blawie ended up setting the bond at $250,000 cash only and scheduled him to return to court on Dec. 8.
Maddox said he wanted to sit with Barthelemy in private and find out what happened to him for all these years.
“The marshals did a great job,” Colangelo said. “It was amazing how fast they found him. He is a very violent individual who fled the jurisdiction.”
Outside the courtroom Barthelemy’s family and friends said it was no wonder he was found so quickly. They said Barthelemy, who came to the United States from Haiti when he was 12-years- old, lived under his own name and he even had a permit to legally carry a gun in Haiti.
One friend who went to Westhill with Barthelemy said he began working for the Red Cross in Haiti after the earthquake. The man, who did not want his name printed, said Barthelemy rose to become the second in command in the security department in Haiti.
His mother, Ebony Barthelemy, 71, said her son had seven children and after three died was raising three daughters and a son with his common law wife.