New London Judge Arthur C. Hadden on Friday dismissed manslaughter charges brought against an East Providence, R.I., man after he served a 15-month prison sentence involving the same crime.
State police said Nicholas E. Chateaunef, 30, had failed to seek help for Edward Icacono, who died of a heroin overdose in the back seat of a Cadillac Escalade that Chateauneuf had rented for a Sept. 21, 2008, trip to Foxwoods.
Chateauneuf initially was charged with drug possession and drunken driving. Prosecutor Christa Baker and defense attorney Peter Rotella, under the supervision of Judge Kevin P. McMahon, worked out an agreement in which Chateauneuf pleaded guilty in exchange for a 15-month prison sentence. The attorneys thought the sentence included a consideration of the facts concerning the death of Iacona, whose mother delivered a victim impact statement to the court.
The state police brought the manslaughter charges after the plea, saying they had just concluded their investigation. Chateauneuf's attorney, Kevin C. Barrs, filed a motion to dismiss the new charges, saying they subjected Chateauneuf to double jeopardy, violated his right to due process and violated the terms of the prior plea bargain.
In his memorandum of decision, Judge Hadden cited a 1988 case, State vs. Nelson, in which the Connecticut Appellate Court ruled that a judge had erred in failing to dismiss manslaughter charges brought against a woman who already had pleaded guilty to second-degree assault.
Hearing the judge's ruling Friday, Chateaneuf hugged his attorney and left the courtroom with his wife.