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Suspect In Darien Cop Killing Arrested On Gun, Drug Charges

Anthony Sabato, seen here in a mug shot following an arrest for a 2010 assault in Wallingford, is a suspect in the killing of a Darien police officer and was arrested this week on drug and gun charges.
Anthony Sabato, seen here in a mug shot following an arrest for a 2010 assault in Wallingford, is a suspect in the killing of a Darien police officer and was arrested this week on drug and gun charges. Photo Credit: Wallingford Police Department

DARIEN, Conn. -- A person of interest in the unsolved 1981 killing of a Darien police officer was arrested in West Haven on unrelated federal narcotics and firearms charges, police said.

Anthony Sabato, 57, of West Haven has long been a person of interest in the shooting death of Officer Kenneth Bateman in Darien on May 31, 1981. Bateman, a seven-year veteran of the Darien Police Department, was responding to a silent alarm at the Duchess on Post Road when he was shot. He was pronounced dead a short time later at Norwalk Hospital.

Sabato, a former Stamford resident, was publicly named a suspect in the killing in 2004. He has a long criminal history dating back decades, which includes purchasing stolen firearms, burglary, forgery and assault. Sabato has served prison time for a number of these charges, but police have never been able to charge him in Bateman's murder.

On Monday, Sabato was arrested with Miguel Joel Roman, 25, of Hartford after an investigation by the FBI's New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, the West Haven Police Department and the Darien Police Department.

The two were charged with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, and conspiring to possess a firearm in furtherance of a narcotics trafficking offense. The two were arraigned in federal court in Bridgeport on Wednesday.

According to the office of the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, Sabato and Roman sold crack to an undercover officer between January and March of this year. They also negotiated the purchase of a handgun from the officer and arranged to sell him two ounces of crack for $2,000 per ounce. The two were arrested after they met the officer at Sabato's West Haven home Tuesday to finalize the sales.

Bateman was 34 at the time of his death, and the Darien Police Department continues to honor his memory every year through blood drives and by standing vigil outside his memorial. His death remains the only unsolved murder of a police officer in Connecticut's history.

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