Justice Now

From Cheri Newman's cousin Bonnie: 

My story is probably very different than others you have received in the past. It seems that most of the stories are about people who were "model citizens." My story is not like theirs, however, it is just as important because a life was taken. I will not try to "sugar coat" this story. I will be very honest and up front. My 28 year old cousin, Cheri (pron. "Sherry") Newman was brutally murdered on May 30, 1995 in New Britain, Connecticut. Cheri was a drug addict. Through her addiction, she became involved with a man who is now accused of her murder. The saddest part is that Cheri was really trying to quit using drugs. She had entered rehab several times and relapsed just before being killed. Although she had a history of drug use, it really escalated when her father (her hero) died of a heart attack in January 1993.

She was last seen alive leaving a "social club" rumored to be taken over by a motorcycle gang with Patrick Walsh who was trying to join the gang (The Hells Angels). He allegedly took Cheri to his tattoo parlor (that he owned) and they started to fight. Cheri was stabbed in the upper neck and scalp 9 times and died. The autopsy report shows that she fought the whole time. He stuffed her body into a wooden crate, took her to New Hampshire and buried her in a friend's backyard.

We went crazy looking for her for 2 1/2 months. Luckily Walsh had a big mouth and 2 people turned him in. Even more tragic is that when Cheri was being found by the State Police, her mother was having a heart attack from all the stress. Her mother, Joyce, died just as we received word that Cheri had been found, dead. Cheri had a little boy, Christopher, who was 6 when he lost his mom. He has since been adopted by Cheri's brother and his new wife, Lisa.

Of course, I am outraged over what a lenient sentence that Walsh could receive. Bond was set at more than $5 million. Patrick T. Walsh, 32, also known as "Wild Man', was charged with murder. Walsh was arrested at his home where numerous weapons were found, according to police. Police searched the Skin Dance Studios tattoo parlor which Walsh co-owns. Cheri's body was found at a home in Lyndenborough, N.H. after New Hampshire State Police received information from city and CT State Police that the body might be there.

From news accounts of Walsh's arraignment:

Over a dozen friends and family of Newman's arrived in court before 10 a.m. and with tense looks on their faces, waited over 2 hours in court for Walsh to be arraigned. Around 12:30 p.m., Walsh, whose hands and legs were shackled, was brought into court by sheriffs. Walsh had a long pony tail, full beard and arms covered with tattoos. The six foot, one inch, 265 pound Walsh stared at members of the Newman family when he sat down in the courtroom. However, he looked away when a sheriff told him to do so.

According to officials, Walsh has a criminal record dating back to 1987 that includes convictions for assault and criminal trespass. Cases pending against him include a charge of first degree robbery, according to prosecutors. Both cases are serious and the murder charge is "a very strong case said Christopher Morano, assistant state's atty.

The Waterbury Republican-American, August 15, 1995 "... Walsh was once convicted of beating a man with a ball-peen hammer.... New Britain police Capt. Dennis Beatty said Walsh's arrest Friday on robbery and weapons charges stemmed from the theft of a $10,000 Harley-Davidson motorcycle and the discovery of two pistols in his tattoo parlor.

The New Britain (CT) Herald, October 13, 1995: Headline: Wild Man avoids facing death penalty. Family & friends of murder victim Cheri Newman were surprised to learn her accused killer can't face the death penalty for his alleged crime... Hartford State's Attorney James Thomas told the family the death penalty can be imposed only in certain murder cases - such as the killing of a police officer or murdering someone during the commission of a felony. The maximum penalty Walsh can receive, if convicted, would be 60 years behind bars. Newman's family also left court upset that they still didn't know any further details about how and why she died. The arrest warrant charging Walsh has remained sealed.

Bonnie Newman

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