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Sunday, August 19 Police Reports

Norwalk man gets 25 years for strangling girlfriend

STAMFORD — A Norwalk man who murdered his lontime girlfriend during an alcohol bender and claims to not remember strangling her to death in their bedroom four years ago, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday.

Bertony Thompson — locked in wrist and ankle shackles and dressed in a long sleeve, gray sweatshirt — did not address two of his former girlfriend’s daughters and other family members who were in court to see Judge Richard Comerford sentence him to prison for what may turn out to be his entire life.

After beginning to pick a jury for his case in April, Thompson, 48, pleaded guilty to murder and agreed to a 25-year sentence, rather than risk a 60-year sentence if he was convicted by a judge or jury.

While the exact circumstances of the death of Jacalyn Silverman, 62, are not known because of the amount of alcohol ingested by Thompson, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Paul Ferencek said her death in the Dreamy Hollow apartment in September 2014 was neither quick nor painless.

“She did not deserve what happened to her. The defendant in this case had no real logical reason for doing what he did,” Ferencek said.

The state’s attorney said there was no forensic motive for the death and neither Silverman or Thompson were seeking a breakup when it happened. The two, however, had a long-running disagreement over the amount of alcohol Thompson was drinking.

“We don’t know what words elapsed between those two in the apartment before she died, but from the defendant’s own admission there was an argument and, as he put it, a tussle,” Ferencek said. “They say that anger is one of the seven deadly sins and I think in this case that rings true.”

Ferencek said Silverman’s death could have been easily avoided, but it wasn’t.

Ferencek asked the family if they had anything to add. Before declining to speak, one of the family members was heard saying, “You said it all.”

Thompson declined to make a comment, but his attorney Alan Williams said his client was extremely remorseful for the act that brought them to the courthouse.

Thompson has always maintained that he blacked out because of a severe alcohol problem and only has bits and pieces of memory from the two days when Silverman was killed and he was found in bed by firefighters with Silverman lying dead beside him.

“Not a day goes by that he doesn’t miss her and wants to express that he still loves her,” Williams said.

“He wants the family to know that if he could trade places with Ms. Silverman he gladly would and he apologizes to the family,” added Sharen Friday, his second attorney.

Comerford called the situation a “terrible tragedy.”

“Nothing I saw will bring this lady back,” the judge said before sentencing Thompson to 25 years in prison.

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Outside the courtroom, both Thompson’s family and Silverman’s family declined to comment.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com

John Nickerson|Police and court reporter

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