Milford manslaughter suspect: 'I dropped the hammer on him'

Manslaughter suspect Ricky Garcia told police he kicked Christopher Peckham, another resident of the Anderson Avenue address they shared, “no more than two times” inside a bedroom in the home Sunday, according to an arrest warrant.

“I stomped him,” police quoted Garcia telling them during an interview. “He was kicking at me and I dropped the hammer on him.”

But the warrant says other residents of the home, who included Peckham’s sister, told police a different story — that Garcia had beaten Peckham repeatedly with his hands and feet, then dragged him, limp and mumbling, out of the house with the help of another man.

The warrant says Peckham was found dead on a ramp leading to the home about 10 p.m. Sunday by firefighters, with “numerous and significant injuries” indicating he had been assaulted.

An autopsy determined Peckham, 49, sustained broken ribs, a broken sternum, a lacerated liver, and fractured vertebrae during the beating.

Garcia was arraigned at Milford Superior Court Tuesday on a charge of first-degree manslaughter, where Judge Peter Brown ordered him held in lieu of $250,000 bond and continued the case to June 4. The charge is a class B felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Assistant State’s Attorney Matt Kalthoff said the state has “a strong case” against Garcia, including statements by several witnesses and admissions made by Garcia.

A bail commissioner said Garcia, 57, has a record dating back to 1992 for crimes including assault, operating under the influence, and failing to appear in court.

An autopsy performed Monday at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide, caused by blunt trauma to the upper torso.

Garcia called 911 at around 10 p.m. Sunday reporting he found Peckham deceased.

“Peckham’s body was located at the bottom of a handicap ramp, lying face up and appeared to have several blunt trauma/wounds throughout his face, eyes, torso and legs,” police said in a statement. “He also had lacerations and appeared he was recently bleeding on his face, nose and chest.”

An investigation included interviews with the nearly dozen residents that lived on the property. About six residents, including Peckham and his sister, lived in the Anderson Avenue house, according to police.