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Connecticut man who put wife in wood chipper released from prison 20 years early

Richard Crafts, 82, got out 20 years early due a law in place at the time of his 1987 sentencing that allowed for sentences to be reduced by years as a reward for good behavior and prison work. The law has since been changed.

Richard Crafts, center, is led into Superior Court in Danbury for a bond hearing Tuesday January 20, 1987. The court refused to reduce Crafts $750,000 bond. He has been charged with murder in the death of his wife, Helie Crafts. (AP Photo/Don Heiny) (Don Heiny / AP Photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man convicted of killing his wife and feeding her body parts through a wood chipper has been released from prison nearly 20 years early.

Richard Crafts was sentenced to 50 years in prison in 1990 by a judge who commented on his lack of remorse. Crafts was recently released and is living in a halfway house, a state Department of Correction spokeswoman told The Hartford Courant Friday.

The 82-year-old is at a transitional housing program for veterans in Bridgeport, Karen Martucci said. He is due to finish his sentence in June, she added.

Crafts has been in prison since his 1987 arrest. A law in place at the time of his sentencing allowed for sentences to be reduced by years as a reward for good behavior and prison work. The law has since been changed.

A Norwalk Superior Court jury ruled that Crafts killed his wife, Helle, at their Newtown home in November 1986. Prosecutors said he cut the body with a chain saw and fed parts through a wood chipper on a bridge between Newtown and Southbury.

Police found tiny body parts, including a fingernail and human bone fragments, on the banks of the Housatonic River. Crafts’ first trial ended in a mistrial in July 1988 because one juror refused to continue deliberating. Crafts maintained his innocence during the trial.

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