Saturday, February 2, 2019

Sandy Hook: The Highly Unlikely Suicide of Abe Dabela, Part 1


Nearly five years have passed since the murder of Attorney Abe Dabela. But some previously unpublished information may remove some of the moss growing over the story of his tragic death.
by Cinderella Broom
~~~
Leafy, prosperous Redding, Connecticut, which sits near the middle of Fairfield County, was originally named “Reading,” not because of an especially literate population but because of one lawyer named John Read.
Read would help define the town’s boundaries in 1767, but soon after the town was named after him, a decision was made to change the spelling to plain, easy-to-pronounce Redding, obscuring reference to John Read – and literacy. Citizens were left with a name that strongly suggests the color red.
It hardly seems fair to Mr. Read. But there are far worse examples of injustice in Redding involving the color of blood.
A recent one concerns the death of a lawyer named Gugsa Abraham (Abe) Dabela, found dead in his crashed Mercedes SUV near his home in Redding at 2:11 a.m. on April 5, 2014.
Dabela had moved from New York City to Redding in 2011, renting a garage apartment owned by Peter Swan at 8 Indian Hill Road.
In the website named for him (justice4abe.com), Dabela is described as “gregarious” and “outspoken.” He was also witty and diligent. With a master’s degree in public health and a law degree under his belt by 2012, Dabela passed bar exams in New York and Connecticut. He was preparing applications for admission to the Maryland and D.C. bars, and had every reason to be gregarious and outspoken and witty and confident. But he would practice law for only a year before falling victim to a killer.
Three stops and a text message. Shortly before his death, 35-year-old Dabela visited two local restaurants within minutes of his home: the Little Pub in Ridgefield and the Black Cat Grille in Redding, both solid establishments with loyal clientele. It was later revealed (by friends of Dabela) that he also visited another pub, The Lumberyard Pub and Sports Bar at 2 Main Street in Redding (now permanently closed), although the police mysteriously omitted this information.
Map showing the restaurants Dabela visited the night of his death, Courtesy of Google Maps ©2019
At about 12:03 a.m., Dabela received a text message, which read: “turn he just didn’t.” The Yoda-like syntax was mysterious enough. Adding to the mystery, according to the case file and a report based on it by Crime Watch, the sender’s cell phone information was deleted after Dabela’s death, while the phone was in police custody.
The crash at Umpawaug and Mallory. While driving back to his home, Dabela swerved for unknown reasons, turning his SUV on its roof. He was pronounced dead less than a mile away from his home, not as the direct result of the crash, but from a gunshot wound to the back of his head.1 Whether the bullet was fired before or after the crash has never been determined, but the driver’s side window was completely shattered, and at the time he was shot, Dabela’s head was positioned near that window.
The crash site itself – on the corner of Umpawaug Road and Mallory Lane – merits close attention. Dabela was traveling north on Umpawaug toward his home on Indian Hill Road. (See map below.)