HARTFORD – The man who attacked and raped a runner in October 2010 on Fern Street in West Hartford — creating fear throughout the town’s active running community until his capture— is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday afternoon.
Eddie Monroig-Rosario, 33, of Hartford was set to go to trial on the sexual assault charge, but during a routine court appearance two weeks ago opted to plead guilty to first-degree sexual assault and first-degree unlawful restraint. He’s already serving a 15-year sentence for several burglaries.
The agreement in the sexual assault plea is for Monroig-Rosario to serve 18 years, concurrent with his 15-year burglary sentence. He will then be on special parole for seven years. The maximum sentence for first-degree sexual assault is 20 years in prison.
The victim in the sexual assault, along with friends and supporters from the running community, is expected to appear in court Thursday to oppose the agreement.
The sexual assault occurred shortly before 7 a.m. Oct. 17, 2010. The woman was running along Fern Street, a busy and well-traveled area, when she was attacked and dragged into some bushes in the front yard of a home. After the assault, she sought help from nearby residents, who called police at 6:56 a.m.
Police flooded the neighborhood and used a dog to track the attacker, but he got away.
As West Hartford police worked to solve the crime, fear and shock spread through West Hartford and the community of runners. Anger quickly followed, and people gathered for a vigil and to, as they put it, “Take Back the Morning.”
Monroig-Rosario was linked to the crime through DNA. West Hartford police took him into custody Nov. 17, 2010, a month after the crime occurred.
The victim, who has not been identified, is opposed to the plea agreement, according to posts to the Facebook page of Fleet Feet Sports West Hartford, a popular running store. The victim would prefer the case go to trial, according to the Facebook posts.
“She figured it was a slap on his wrist and a slap in her face,” said Stephanie Blozy, the store owner and a friend of the victim.
The crime had a deep impact on women in the wider community, and many still feel unsafe, Blozy said.
“It didn’t just affect her,” Blozy said of the victim. “It affected so many other people. It’s a shame when somebody can take away anybody’s right to freedom.”
By David Owens, Hartford Courant