MIDDLEBURY — A Waterbury man appeared in court Thursday, charged in killing of an elderly Middlebury man found dead in the driveway of his own home.
Steven Brockett was charged with murder, first-degree robbery and first-degree assault of an elderly person when state police arrested him around 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The 44-year-old has 27 prior convictions and substance abuse issues, according to prosecutors.
Brockett was held on a $750,000 cash surety bond after his arraignment in Waterbury Superior Court. A judge sealed the arrest warrant so the events leading up to the victim's death are unknown. Police released no information as to how the men knew each other except to say that they were acquaintances.
"It breaks your heart to see something like that happen to good people, you know? And I hope this guy gets what’s coming to him," said John Foschini, a neighbor and friend of the deceased, identified as Isidore Ellin.
"'Izzy.' That’s what everyone used to call him," said Foschini who knew Ellin for decades. Before becoming his neighbor in 1983, the elderly man was Foschini's physics teacher at Waterbury State Technical College.
"He taught the way the teacher a should, which is straight forward," Foschini said. He said he is still in shock about how his former teacher's life ended.
State detectives along with investigators from Middlebury's Police Department processed the crime scene for more than 36 hours after Ellin, 79, was discovered lying in a pool of blood at 41 Tower Road around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled Ellin died from blunt force trauma to the head, and Connecticut State Police said in a news conference that Brockett used a nearby object as a weapon to kill Ellin. Trooper Kelly Grant declined to go into specifics about the type of weapon.
“He did use a weapon of opportunity, but exactly what, is part of the detectives continuing investigation,” Grant said.
Brockett is being charged with robbery because police say an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from Ellin.
Ellin was born in Israel in 1936, and emigrated as a young child with his family to Ellington, Connecticut. He leaves behind a former spouse, three children and three grandchildren.
“His unique prospective on life and smart advice will be missed,” according to the obituary.
Ellin’s funeral was scheduled for Thursday in Waterbury.
Foschini planned to go.
"The least we could do is pay our respects to him," Ellin's former student, friend and neighbor said.