5 charged in Connecticut kidnapping and murder case

Five Hartford County men have been arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of a 35-year-old West Hartford man in 2009, state, federal and local law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Three of the men — 35-year-old Terrell Hunter of Hartford and Harold Cook, 40, and 41-year-old Gerund Mickens, both of Bloomfield — were arrested Tuesday, officials with the office of Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly said Thursday. A fourth man, 42-year-old Douglas Lee of Hartford, was arrested Thursday.

Hartford resident Jesus Ashanti, 40, the fifth man charged in the January 2009 kidnapping and murder of Charles Teasley, was already in jail on unrelated offenses.

Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Lee appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert A. Richardson.

All five men were charged a federal grand jury indictment, which was returned under seal on March 30. The men were charged with:

• One count of kidnapping resulting in death.

• A single count of using a firearm during a kidnapping and causing a death.

• One count of using a firearm during a robbery and causing a death.

If convicted of the charges, each defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of life, or death if the government chooses to seek it, according to Daly.

The arrest stems from a long-term investigation conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the Hartford Police Department and the Cold Case Homicide Unit of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

The indictment alleges that on Jan. 12, 2009, Hartford police responded to a report of a dead body in the back seat of a vehicle parked on Colebrook Street. Teasley was found in the back seat of a gray 1999 Acura TL with multiple gunshot wounds to his head and face, and his hands were tied behind his back, officials said.

Prior to Teasley’s death, Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Ashanti were involved in committing armed robberies of persons they believed to be drug dealers operating in the Hartford area, the indictment alleges.

The indictment alleges that Lee met with Teasley to do a cocaine deal and that Cook, Mickens, Hunter and Ashanti showed up during the transaction and kidnapped Teasley, using zip-ties to bind his hands and forcing him back into his own car.

The four men then threatened Teasley at gunpoint, assaulted him and forced him to make a telephone call to his girlfriend. They ordered Teasley to tell his girlfriend to bring to them a safe he had hidden at the home he shared with her.

Teasley was then taken to another part of Hartford and murdered, the indictment alleges.

Daly said her office “is committed to prosecuting dangerous offenders and reducing violent crime in our cities.”

“Our work will not stop until the shootings and murders stop,” she said in a statement.

Patricia Ferrick, special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Haven Division, said the indictments are the result of seven years of intense investigative work.

Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.