Killer captured after 22 years as a fugitive
Found in Mexico after fleeing his Conn. conviction
HARTFORD - A man captured in Mexico after 22 years on the run from a Connecticut murder conviction was sent to a high-security prison yesterday, hours after he was flown back to the United States from Mexico City.
Adam Zachs did not say a word during a brief appearance in Hartford Superior Court, where Judge David Gold ordered him to begin serving his 60-year sentence. Zachs was led in and out of the courtroom in handcuffs and leg shackles as several of the victim’s relatives stared at him from the gallery.
Zachs, 48, was convicted and sentenced in 1988 for shooting 29-year-old Peter Carone to death outside a West Hartford restaurant after Carone made a joke Zachs did not like. State law at the time allowed him to post bail during his appeal, and he fled in 1989.
“I’ve waited years for this,’’ the victim’s mother, Addie Carone, 83, said outside court. “I’d prayed, really, that finding Adam would happen during my lifetime, and I’m happy with that.’’
There did not appear to be any members of Zachs’ family in the courtroom.
State marshals later brought Zachs to the high-security MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, said Correction Department spokesman Brian Garnett.
Gold said the original judge in Zachs’ case, Thomas Corrigan, who died May 31, had recommended at the time of sentencing that Zachs serve his time in a minimum-security prison. Gold said Zachs’ actions surely would have changed Corrigan’s mind and that Zachs should be detained in high-security setting.
Several US marshals and West Hartford police officers also attended the court hearing, saying they never gave up on trying to find Zachs.
“This is justice,’’ said Joseph Faughnan, the top US marshal in Connecticut.
Authorities got a tip and arrested Zachs in February outside his home in Leon, Guanajuato, about five hours northwest of Mexico City. Police say he was living under the alias Ruben Fridman and had a wife, two children, and a computer repair business there.
A US marshal and West Hartford detective escorted Zachs on a flight from Mexico City on Wednesday night and drove him to Hartford.
Zachs and Carone, who both grew up in West Hartford but did not know each other, were watching a college basketball game at the restaurant when someone made a joke about the bar not being clean, police said. Carone then made a “spit-shine’’ joke, motioning like he was spitting on the bar and wiping it up. That angered Zachs for some reason, police said.
Zachs, who is a slender 5-foot-4, left the bar, got a gun and returned. Zachs and Carone went outside, where Carone said he did not want to fight. He headed back toward the restaurant, and Zachs shot him in the back, police said.
After his conviction, Zachs posted a $250,000 appeal bond with the help of his aunt and fled with the help of his father, authorities said.
The 78-year-old father, Frederick Zachs, pleaded guilty in federal court recently to helping his son flee the country and sending him money over the years. Frederick Zachs is set to be sentenced to up to five years in prison in August for harboring a fugitive but could get little or no jail time.