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Pro se defendant loses DUI trial in New London

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published April 29. 2014 4:18PM   Updated April 30. 2014 12:00AM

A New London jury deliberated for less than an hour Tuesday before finding an Uncasville man guilty as a repeat offender of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Christopher M. Sutera, 53, had pleaded not guilty and represented himself at a trial before a jury of six at the New London Superior Court lower-level courthouse on Broad Street.

Prosecutor Sarah J. Bowman had elicited testimony from East Lyme patrolman Mark Comeau, who pulled over Sutera on July 4, 2012, and administered field sobriety tests in the commuter parking lot adjacent to Interstate 95's Exit 74. Comeau said Sutera, who smelled of alcohol and had glassy, bloodshot eyes, told him the tests would be difficult for him due to a medical condition, but opted to proceed. Comeau said Sutera swayed and held his arms out to balance himself while performing the one-legged stand and failed to perform the heel-to-toe movement required in the so-called walk-and-turn test. Sutera refused to take a Breathalyzer test. He initially said he would submit to a urine test but later refused it, according to Comeau.

Sutera did not call any witnesses in his defense. After the jury announced its verdict, Judge John M. Newson raised Sutera's bond to $30,000, cash or surety, and he was taken into custody. As a repeat offender, he faces 120 days to two years in prison when he is sentenced June 30. Sutera had previously been convicted of drunken driving in Superior Court in Danielson in 2006.

— Karen Florin

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