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Gojcaj, Convicted in Gusto Ristorante Murder, Sues for New Trial

The man convicted of shooting and dismembering his uncle after a night of heavy drinking in 2004 has sued State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky to win a new trial.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday against State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky claims that key evidence that would likely have impeached one of the prosecution's witnesses wasn't given to the defense in the Marash Gojcaj murder trial.

After the murder trial concluded in 2010, Gojcaj's defense attorney, Stephan Seeger said he learned a key prosecution witness in the murder trial was offered help from the Danbury Police Department to win a pardon for drug charges he faced.

Seeger said Tuesday if the jury knew that information during the murder trial, they might have been somewhat more suspicious about the testimony the man gave.

Seeger filed an appeal against Gojcaj's conviction about six months after his conviction in 2010. Sednesky said the appeal will look at any legal issues the defense thinks might have been mishandled during Gojcaj's trial in Danbury Superior Court. He said that case will proceed in Hartford. The appeal is unrelated to the new suit filed Tuesday in Danbury Superior Court.

The new lawsuit deals with whether or not Gojcaj gets a new trial because evidence was withheld from the defense. That suit will be handled in Danbury, Sedensky said.

The murder case unfolded like this. Gojcaj and his uncle Zef Vulevic were drinking at Gusto's Ristorante, 275 Main St., on the night of April 5, 2004. They were co-owners together of the restaurant. Police were called to the restaurant several times, because the two men were fighting and their fights kept spilling out onto Main Street. The two men were warned by Danbury Police to keep it inside the restaurant.

One witness said she saw Gojcaj later that night pull his uncle back into the restaurant after he crawled out.

Vulevic's ex-wife and family never saw him or talked to him after that night, and his dismembered body was found by people collecting roadside trash in New York State about two weeks later on Earth Day. In the 2010 trial, prosecutors convinced the jury Gojcaj shot his uncle and killed him in the restaurant that night, and then dismembered him, bagged the pieces and threw the bags away in New York.

When workers returned to the restaurant the next day, they saw no evidence of a crime. Police who searched the restaurant weeks later after the body was found also found no physical evidence of the crime inside the restaurant. Gojcaj was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Following that trial, Gojcaj was tried for tampering with a witness, and the witness was the same man who Attorney Seeger said testified because he wanted a pardon. Seeger was able to introduce that information in the tampering trial, and Gojcaj was not found guilty.

"What happened in that trial is that witness was seen in a whole different light," Seeger said. He wants to bring that light in a new murder trial.

"The aforesaid information constitutes newly discovered evidence that was not available to the petitioner or his counsel at the time of his trial, nor could it have been discovered by the exercise of due diligence; it would be material on a new trial and is not merely cumulative, and is likely to produce a different result in a new trial," Seeger wrote in his suit.

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