Lawyer wants probe of Newington murder suspect's suicide

Published on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:28
Written by LISA BACKUS


NEWINGTON - The attorney for the Gilbert Road man accused of killing his wife is calling for an investigation into the death of his client, Michael Torbicki, who committed suicide in a state prison hospital ward early Monday.

Torbicki was on court-ordered suicide watch in MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield when he committed suicide by hanging, attorney Jon Schoenhorn said. “I’m calling for a thorough, independent, outside investigation, because this type of thing just can’t happen,” Schoenhorn said.

Torbicki has been in a medical wing of a maximum-security prison since his arrest on a murder charge in the death of his wife, Patricia, who was found with fatal gunshot wounds in the front door of the couple’s home on Sept. 21.

Police believe Torbicki, 45, shot his wife in a leg in their bedroom and then chased her to the front door, where he shot her in the head. He then shot himself in the face and lay seriously wounded on the floor as police swarmed the area.

He was found a few hours later after police broke the windows and sent in cameras.

“He had a nearly successful suicide attempt,” Schoenhorn said. “He was not only on a suicide watch, but in need of extra care.”

He was found by staff early Monday with a ligature tied around his neck during a routine tour, correction officials said. Life-saving measures were started and he was taken to St. Francis Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. He has been held at Macdougall-Walker since Oct. 13. The DOC’s Security Division is investigating, correction officials said.

During Torbicki’s arraignment, which was done in a hospital room, Schoenhorn said Torbicki was a veteran who was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. His wife had moved their teenage son to her parents’ home because of her husband’s drinking and bouts with depression, a warrant for Torbicki’s arrest said. But she had returned to the house to possibly to retain a stake in the property, since her husband wanted a divorce, police said.

Despite his “predicament,” Schoenhorn said. “he was in better spirits and working with my office on his defense.”

Torbicki was being held on $2 million bond and had been expected to appear in New Britain Superior Court by video conference Wednesday.

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

Posted in New Britain Herald, Newington on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:28. Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 22:30.