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Tuesday, September 19, 2000

09/19/00 Press reports on Margolies case prompt new leads

By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

The publication of newly released details about the murder of Glenville teenager Matthew Margolies nearly two decades ago has resulted in new and potentially valuable information, police said yesterday.

Those details, contained in a series of stories by Greenwich Time earlier this month, prompted some readers to come forward with previously unreported information about the activities of one or more suspects on Aug. 31, 1984, the day Margolies, 13, was believed to have been tortured and killed in a wooded area near the Byram River, according to police.

Police said a better understanding of a suspect's actions before and after the murder could help detectives more closely link a suspect to the crime. Few details about the new information were released.

The stories, based on 610 pages of police reports the newspaper obtained after filing a Freedom of Information Act complaint, gave the public the first detailed glimpse of the brutal nature of the murder and subsequent investigation, the most extensive Greenwich police said they had ever undertaken.

"It's generated a lot of activity for our investigators," Police Chief Peter Robbins said of the news articles. "We've gotten some new information from people we've heard from before, and other information has come from people we've never heard from."

Robbins would not be specific about the new information, except to say some of it concerned "the whereabouts at certain times" on the day of the murder of one or more of the eight suspects in the case.

The Margolies murder investigation was reactivated in March, when two detectives were assigned to the case on a full-time basis. According to Robbins, the detectives are now in the process of following up on the new information.

Greenwich Time had requested a copy of the Margolies murder case file from the Police Department in October, and when the request was denied a complaint was lodged with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. The complaint was withdrawn in June, under an FOIC-brokered settlement, in which police agreed to release reports from the Margolies case file with suspects' names and other information deemed crucial for the investigation blacked out.

Although heavily edited, it is clear from the released police reports the investigation has focused on the following suspects:

A 32-year-old maintenance worker and suspected pedophile who a year before Margolies was murdered allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old male jogger in the woods along the Byram River.

A 16-year-old boy known as a neighborhood bully who knew the victim and had roughed up Margolies weeks before the murder. He was arrested a month before Margolies was murdered for allegedly assaulting another 13-year-old boy, and had pulled a knife on another neighborhood boy in an incident that went unreported.

A 16-year-old occasional fishing companion of Margolies who once told someone that he would like to "ditch that little bastard," and whose activities the day of the murder have been questioned by detectives.

A 17-year-old boy from Margolies' neighborhood who was thought to have had a revenge motive because he blamed the victim for telling police about marijuana plants he had grown and was subsequently arrested.

A 38-year-old man who worked in Glenville who might have been familiar with the victim and whose activities shortly after the murder were viewed as suspicious.

A suspected pedophile in his late 20s who drove a red pick-up truck similar to one witnesses said they saw near the crime scene just prior to Margolies' murder.

A 47-year-old man who had aroused the suspicion of state police while being questioned about a series of shootings along Interstate 95.

A man in his 50s who lived in Margolies' neighborhood and had a history of criminal violence.

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