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UConn puncher pleads guilty, faces 10 years

July 6, 2011 Local News No Comments

jailThe man accused of fatally punching a University of Connecticut student during Spring Weekend 2010 pleaded no contest to manslaughter charg­es as part of a plea arrangement Friday (July 1) in Rockville Superior Court.

Edi Rapo, 20, of East Hartford, had been facing charges of second-degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree issuing a false statement and second-degree forgery.

He was originally offered a plea deal on May 13, but his case was continued to June 3 and again to June 10 to give him time to consider the deal. After the June 10 appear­ance, Rapo’s case was continued to Friday. According to Rockville Superior Court officials, Rapo’s full sentence will be 10 years, suspended after five-and-a-half years.

He will be on probation for five years under the agreement.

His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 9, court officials said.

Rapo’s lawyer, William Gerace, said in early June he asked for the judge to become involved in the talks, adding he felt the pro­posed sentencing range was too broad.

Gerace could not be reached for com­ment Friday.

Rapo had been accused of fatally punch­ing UConn junior Jafar Karzoun, of Milford, in an altercation April 23, 2010, during Spring Weekend at UConn.

According to court documents, Rapo knocked Karzoun, a management informa­tion systems major, unconscious after he punched him in the face, at which point Karzoun fell to the ground and hit his head.

State police said they found Karzoun unconscious when they responded to a report of an altercation at a pizza restaurant on North Eagleville Road at 1:18 a.m.

Karzoun was first taken to Windham Community Memorial Hospital and was then flown by Life Star helicopter to Hartford Hospital, where he died May 1, 2010.

Karzoun’s family announced in January their intentions to sue the university, claim­ing it failed to protect Karzoun.

According to the Connecticut Post in early June, Donald Altschuler, the Karzouns’ lawyer, said the family is aware of the terms of the plea deal and supports the offer.

Altschuler could not be reached for com­ment Friday.

In a letter to UConn, the Karzouns said UConn failed to maintain safety for its students during Spring Weekend.

After Karzoun’s death, UConn took addi­tional steps to address Spring Weekend, which is not sanctioned by the university.

Former President Michael Hogan put together a task force in May 2010, and the task force issued a report in January recommending ways to control Spring Weekend.

The Undergraduate Student Government did not agree to the task force’s recom­mendation for a one-year moratorium, but town and UConn officials credit many of the recommendations for the down-sized Spring Weekend this April, which also coincided with Easter.

Posted 7-6-2011

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