Torrington man accused in wife’s murder appears in court

TORRINGTON --  Police believe a Torrington man accused in his wife's death used a pointed steal rod as the murder weapon. An arrest warrant released Thursday states his 79-year-old wife sustained at least three blunt impact blows to the head.

Daniel Gervais, 70, was arraigned in Bantam Superior Court on Thursday.

He was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife Phyllis Gervais Wednesday after police found out the statement he gave did not match up with the physical evidence collected at the scene.

On April 22 just after 4:00am, police said they responded to the home on Cider Mill Crossing after receiving a 911 call from Daniel reporting his wife Phyllis had fallen and was dead.  When officers arrived, they said they found Phyllis on the floor with significant trauma injuries to the head.

Police said detectives were called to the scene and took over the investigation.

“The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head and evidence at the scene were not consistent with that type of injury,” said Lt. Barown, Torrington Police Department.

The arrest warrant details the week and a half long investigation that led to Gervais's arrest. After he made the 911 call, police found his wife lying on the floor in the living room near a shattered glass coffee table surrounded by "an enormous amount of blood." There was blood on the ceiling, on the rear wall and on blinds adjacent to the coffee table. They also found large areas of blood that appeared to be dry indicating some time had passed since the injury.

Police also found evidence of blood in Phyllis's bedroom and in the shower and sink of her bathroom, according to the arrest warrant.

In all, they seized 57 pieces of evidence from the property including bloody clothes that were found under other clothing items in a laundry basket, bloody sponges and towels police believe were used in attempts to clean up the crime scene, and a 24-inch long pointed steel rod with blood on it found in the garage.

The blood on these items matched that of Phyllis Gervais, according to DNA testing by the State of Connecticut Forensic Lab.

In several interviews, Gervais told police his wife must have fallen while he was asleep in a separate room wearing ear plugs. He said the last time he saw her alive was 9:00pm the previous night.

The arrest warrant states her injuries and the blood around the crime scene "are not consistent with a person just falling and hitting their head on the table."

Police cannot say what they believe the motive is in this case.

Attorney A. Thomas Waterfall, who is representing Daniel Gervais, told reporters he was not aware of any problems in their marriage.

"Mr. Gervais is a 70-year-old gentleman. He's lived in Torrington all of his adult life and has absolutely no record whatsoever," said Attorney Waterfall.

He added, "These are allegations and that's all they are at this point and now the investigation continues."

Gervais is being held on a $1 million bail. He's due back in court on May 16.