WATERBURY -- A Waterbury woman who was found slain along with her 9-year-old daughter last week had become an anti-domestic violence activist after her sister was killed four years ago. Authorities say both women were killed by their boyfriends.
Monday, her boyfriend, the accused killer, was arraigned. Anthony Rutherford, 28, had lived with Nequea Brodie and her two daughters for several months.
"This is truly a horrific crime involving allegations that he murdered not only the mother, but also her nine-year-old daughter," said Waterbury State's Attorney, Maureen Platt.
Police believe Rutherford, who has a lengthy criminal history in New York and New Jersey, met Nequea Brodie online. Then, after an argument early Friday, police allege he killed her and her oldest daughter, My-jaeaha Richardson.
"She always loved her children and her children was her world," said Felicia Richardson, a close family friend.
Nequea Brodie's two-year-old daughter, Olivia, is now left without a mother, which is crushing news to Brodie's father, who says he hasn't always been a good dad.
"I thought I had more time and to lose her now is so devastating to me because I was rebuilding our relationship," said Clinton Brodie.
Nequea Brodie's mother, Corrinna Martin, has now had two daughters murdered in the last 4 1/2 years.
Another daughter, Alyssiah Wiley, an Eastern Connecticut State University student, was found dismembered in May 2013. Her former boyfriend, Jermaine Richards, is about to stand trial for the murder for a third time.
Martin collapsed following Monday's proceedings in Waterbury Superior Court. But, she refused to be taken to the hospital by ambulance.
"I've been numb since I heard the news. We are just all trying to stay close and give each other support right now," said Clarence Brodie, Nequea Brodie's uncle.
Just after Anthony Rutherford's bond was set at $5.25 million, emotional family members yelled expletives at Rutherford as he was escorted from the courtroom.
In addition to facing two counts of murder, Rutherford faces numerous gun charges. But, it remains unclear if he shot either of the two females. The arrest warrant will remain sealed for nearly 12 more days as evidence and interviews continue to be gathered being gathered.
The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence offers help 24 hours a day to anyone suffering from domestic violence in their own homes. Victims are urged to call the free hotline at (888) 774-2900 to access counseling services, support groups, emergency shelter and general support.