Prosecutor pushing for murder charge

Matthew Chandler

Matthew Chandler

NAUGATUCK — A prosecutor said Friday that charges against a borough man will be upgraded to include a murder charge in connection with a fight that led to the death of a 24-year-old man last year.

Matthew Chandler, 22, had faced a charge of first-degree assault in connection with an alleged fight with Salomon Martinez of Stratford, who died in January 2013 after plunging from the fourth-story window of a home on Pond Street.

Martinez suffered massive injuries, including broken legs, a fractured skull and organ damage by the time emergency responders made it to him. He was on life support in the intensive care unit at Waterbury Hospital for more than a week before his death.

The fall occurred while Martinez was fighting with Kyle Gonzalez, 20, of 10 Anderson St., and Chandler, of Myrtle Avenue, during a party in the apartment, police said.

The fight that led up to Martinez’s fall erupted after a group lost a game of beer pong, a drinking game played with cups, ping-pong balls and a table, according to court documents.

Several men swung their fists at each other and bottles were thrown during the brawl, witnesses told police.

A witness told police that Chandler and Gonzalez chased Martinez up a set of stairs to a room in the home during the ensuing chaos. It’s unclear how Martinez went out the window, as witnesses gave varying accounts of events that night.

Chandler told a witness he and Gonzalez had been jumped by men at a party, and when they chased one of combatants into a bedroom, he jumped from a window.

A witness told police that Gonzalez told her that Martinez had pulled a knife on him, so he kicked him out of a window, court documents indicate.

Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Terence Mariani said Friday that he intends to file a murder-related charge against Chandler when Chandler appears in Waterbury Superior Court on Nov. 20. A hearing to determine if there’s probable cause to support the charge will likely follow, he said.

It’s unclear if Gonzalez will also face a murder charge in the case.

Chandler’s attorney, Ioannis Kaloidis, said he’s hopeful Chandler will be vindicated.
“It’s clear that the state intends to file felony murder charges,” Kaloidis said. “I don’t think the facts support that. We have indicated from the beginning that we intend to fight all the charges.”

Prosecutors can charge a defendant with felony murder if they have evidence showing a person died during the commission of a felony, such as robbery.

Chandler remains jailed on a $245,000 bond, while Gonzalez also remains in custody as he has been unable to post a $500,000 bond.