Lawyer: Newington slaying suspect has PTSD

Published on Monday, 16 October 2017 23:06
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEWINGTON - The attorney for a Gilbert Road man accused of killing his wife says his client, who served in the Marine Corps, has post-traumatic stress disorder.

Attorney Jon Schoenhorn made the claim during Michael Torbicki’s arraignment from his hospital bed Friday.

Torbicki, 45, was charged Thursday with the murder of his wife, Patricia, whose body was found in the front door of their home on Sept. 21.

Torbicki was also found in the house with a serious gunshot wound to the face. Police believe he shot his wife in the leg in the bedroom and then in the head as she was trying to flee through the front door. He then turned the gun on himself, police said.

A woman walking by saw a woman’s body in the door and alerted a neighbor, who confirmed that it was Patricia Torbicki, 46, and that she appeared to be dead.

The discovery prompted a massive police response, as officers didn’t know if Torbicki was still armed. 

He has been in the hospital since the incident. New Britain Superior Court Judge Joan Alexander went to the hospital Friday to arraign Torbicki, with Schoenhorn standing nearby.

According to a transcript of the proceedings provided by Judicial Branch staff, the attorney told the judge that his client was disabled from his service in the military and that he suffered from alcoholism and depression and was seeking a divorce when the “unfortunate incident,” meaning the killing, occurred.

Torbicki’s criminal history includes a 2002 driving under the influence arrest, a 1998 breach of peace conviction and a 2014 domestic violence arrest erased after he attended a family violence program.

He is a Persian Gulf War veteran who earned several medals during his time with the Marines, which ended in 1991, his lawyer said.

Schoenhorn argued that the court should reduce Torbicki’s bond to $500,000 based on his history of mental illness and alcoholism, and that the charge should be manslaughter rather than murder.

Torbicki communicated to the judge by hand signals, giving Alexander a thumbs up when she asked him if he wanted to waive his right to a probable-cause hearing until he can effectively communicate with his attorney.

Alexander ordered Torbicki held on $2 million bond and set his court date for Dec. 1, based on information that he would likely be out of the hospital by then.

Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, Newington on Monday, 16 October 2017 23:06. Updated: Monday, 16 October 2017 23:08.