Ansonia-Milford State's Attorney Releases Report of the Homicide of Shengyl Rasim

Kevin D. Lawlor, State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford, today released the results of his office’s five-month investigation into the murder of West Haven resident Shengyl Rasim and the suicide of her estranged husband Selami Ozdemir. On January 17, 2010, Selami Ozdemir fatally shot his wife in their Blohm Street home and then turned the gun on himself.

“This Office has been investigating this tragic incident since it occurred in January,” Lawlor said. “We are grateful for the full cooperation we received from the numerous state and local agencies involved in this case, especially the West Haven Police and Fire Departments and the Judicial Branch.”

“This report thoroughly outlines the series of events that occurred in this case from the time Mr. Ozdemir was first arrested by the West Haven Police Department in September of 2009 up to and including the tragic events of January 17, 2010.”

“This investigation uncovered several troubling revelations at various points in the arrest, prosecution and monitoring of the original case against Selami Ozdemir and the events of January 16-17, 2010,” Lawlor said.

“As I previously indicated, my primary concern is to determine exactly what happened in this situation and, to the extent possible, attempt to assure that a tragedy such as this does not happen again. It is not to assign blame to any agency or group,” Lawlor said.

Specifically, the report recommends:

  • Increasing the number of slots in the Family Violence Education Program.

  • Require more formal monitoring, supervision and reporting by those accused of domestic violence while their cases are pending in court.

  • Formalizing statewide procedures for notifying the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) of potential instances of child endangerment involving domestic violence.

  • Reform the bail bond industry to prevent a bondsman from issuing what is in effect a “get out of jail free card” to someone accused of domestic violence.

  • Increased inter-agency and intra-agency communication in domestic violence cases.

“The recommendations made in this report point out areas where improvements in the criminal justice system can provide real assistance to those in the field given the daunting task of handling these difficult cases. I fully understand that some of these recommendations may require additional funding in a time when all governments are being financially strained to the breaking point. While some of these recommendations may cost additional money in the short term, they may provide cost savings in the long term by successfully diverting more first time domestic violence offenders out of the system. This may decrease recidivism which would reduce the strains on our probation and corrections systems.” While we should be mindful of cost, there should never be a pricetag placed upon keeping our citizens safe in their own home," Lawlor said.

Follow this link to read the complete report (PDF Format, Size 140K; Adobe Acrobat Reader Required)

Media Contact: Ansonia-Milford State’s Attorney’s Office (203) 874-3361