Published June 04. 2009 4:00AM Updated June 04. 2009 3:53PM
Norwich - City police charged a self-employed carpenter Wednesday morning with the shooting death of the woman he married just three weeks ago.
At 11:39 p.m. Tuesday, police were called to 257 Norwich Avenue in Taftville, the rented home of Chihan Eric Chyung and his wife, Paige Bennett Chyung, both 46. There they found Paige Chyung dead and arrested Chihan Chyung without incident, charging him with first-degree manslaughter with a firearm. He was arraigned Wednesday morning in Norwich Superior Court and held on $1 million bond.
Police would not elaborate on why Chyung was charged with manslaughter and not murder, but according to state laws, first-degree manslaughter is charged when a person has the intent to cause serious physical injury to another person which results in death. It also applies when police believe a person intends to cause the death of another person, but acts "under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance" or when a person "recklessly engages in conduct which creates grave risk of death to another person and thereby causes the death of that person."
More details on the charges were not available because the court sealed the record of the initial investigation, which is ongoing. A bail commissioner said Chyung has lived in the area for eight years and has no prior convictions.
An autopsy is scheduled for today at the state office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
'I want to ask him why'
Sheila Monter of Radler Road in Preston learned the oldest of her four daughters was dead when police knocked on her door at 5:30 Wednesday morning.
Monter said Paige was a loving sister to Allison Andreoli of Oklahoma, Nicole Monter of San Diego, and Alexandra Monter of Preston, as well as the mother of three children ages 24, 19 and 17, and two grandchildren, including a 1-month-old grandson.
"I don't know how this could happen," Monter said. "When she got married she said 'This is the happiest day of my life.'
"I want to know. I want to ask him why he did this to my daughter."
Paige Chyung, who attended Norwich Free Academy, was a patient-care technician at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. She was admired by both patients and fellow employees, her mother said. The hospital is providing grief counseling for employees who knew her.
Monter said the couple was married in a small ceremony with just her and Chyung's three children present. She said no one from Chihan Chyung's family was there. Monter said she didn't know much about her son-in-law's family.
"He had tears in his eyes when he kissed her," Monter said. "I thought that was a good thing. I just don't understand how he could pick up a gun and kill her."
Mariellen French of Mystic has been friends with Monter for more than 30 years. On Wednesday night, she recalled her lasting image of Paige.
She said the family's yard was "more meadow than mowed."
"Paige was 15 years old. She had beautiful, long, red hair and this day she was wearing a pastel-colored dress and she was running through the meadow. It was like an Impressionist painting."
French said the couple was in a motorcycle accident last August.
"I think she broke her arm," French said. "He had cuts on his face. For a motorcycle accident they came out pretty good. It could have been a lot worse.
"But this is such a tragedy. She came from such a loving family."
Shawn Mawhiney, a spokesman at Backus, said Paige Chyung started work at the hospital in 2000 as a dietary assistant. In 2005, she became a patient-care technician or nurse's aide.
"Here at the hospital we are mourning her tragic death," Mawhiney said. "We extend our condolences to her co-workers, family and friends."
Herman Michaud met Paige while he was at Backus Hospital. He rented the house at 257 Norwich Ave. to the couple about two months ago. He said Paige was taking care of him when he happened to mention that he owned a rental property.
She was looking for a place to live and immediately asked to rent the house, a two-and-a-half-story, single-family home tucked between two multifamily houses, all of which are below street level and accessed by staircases from busy Norwich Avenue. A Bob's Discount Furniture distribution center is behind the three houses.
Michaud called Chihan Eric Chyung "nuts." He said one time his son, who has multiple sclerosis, was making repairs to the home and Chyung made fun of him.
Norwich police and the state police Eastern District Major Crime Squad were still at the home investigating the shooting Wednesday morning.
Chihan Eric Chyung's next court appearance is scheduled for June 23.