NEW LONDON - The 35-year-old Griswold woman accused this month of fatally smothering her infant was free on bond for a different charge at the time of the alleged crime.
Crystal Czyzewski, of 127 Slater Drive, Apt. D, was charged by state police on Monday with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a child in connection with the 6-week-old infant’s death. That case is pending on New London Superior Court’s Part A docket where some of the region’s most serious cases are heard.
Last year, police charged her with misleading them about the presence of a wanted felon at her home.
Grandmother arraigned Friday
Czyzewski’s mother, Linda Kennison, was arraigned in Norwich Superior Court on Friday on a risk of injury charge related to the case. Police said Kennison confessed to knowing the baby was in distress on Nov. 17 hours before Czyzewski called 911 to report the child wasn't breathing.
Czyzewski told police stress and her children's crying prompted her to put a blanket over the baby's face for "20 minutes" until he was dead, according to a warrant.
Kennison said she and her daughter devised a plan to put food in the infant’s mouth to “make it look like the baby was alive,” an arrest warrant states. Czyzewski said her mother did not know she smothered the baby.
The infant died on Sunday after being treated for days at Hartford’s Connecticut Children’s Hospital.
Norwich Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy kept the initial $250,000 bond Kennison was held on and ordered her case transferred to New London Superior Court for Dec. 13. He also ordered a medical watch for Kennison.
During the arraignment, Kennison was visibly out of breath and coughing continuously. Her public defender for the proceedings, Jean Park, said her client suffers from thyroid cancer and asthma and argued the defendant should be released on a promise to appear.
The Bail Commissioner's Office said Kennison does not have a previous criminal record and was not working.
Czyzewski's previous charge
Czyzewski is being held on total bonds of $501,000. Of that, $1,000 stems from a hindering charge from Feb. 22, 2020. On that day, a state police trooper arrived at Czyzewski’s apartment in an attempt to serve a felony wanted-persons warrant for Dallas Czyzewski.
Police said Crystal Czyzewski allowed police to search her residence, but denied harboring the man. A prosecutor’s report did not state what the relationship is between Crystal and Dallas Czyzewski.
Police said they noticed a college football game playing on a television in Crystal Czyzewski’s daughter’s room. When they asked the child if she was watching the game, she replied, “No, but my dad was,” the report states.
The arrest warrant for Crystal Czyzewski stated she had a 5-year-old daughter in her home when she allegedly suffocated her baby.
Police said they found Dallas Czyzewski hiding under a pile of laundry in a master bedroom. He pleaded guilty in June to charges of third-degree assault, violation of a protective order and third-degree criminal mischief. The violation charge resulted in an 18-month prison sentence, according to the state’s judicial website.
Crystal Czyzewski and her sister, Britney Jones, were each charged with second-degree hindering prosecution – a felony.
Crystal Czyzewski was intially held on a non-surety bond, or a promise to appear in court that includes a dollar amount, which in Crystal Czyzewski's case was $1,000. She pleaded not guilty to the hindering charge and that case has also been moved to New London Superior Court, part of the typical bundling of cases at a single court when they involve the same defendant.
She is due in court next on Dec. 13.
John Penney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (860) 857-6965
This article originally appeared on The Bulletin: Griswold woman accused of smothering baby charged in 2020 with felony