Judge tosses plea deal for man accused of brutally beating neighbor

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A judge tossed a plea deal Wednesday for a Milford man accused of a brutal attack on his neighbor who lives with multiple sclerosis.

Prosecutor Chuck Stango said he's never seen a deal vacated at sentencing, but that's what the judge did after hearing the victim's impact statement.

Lori Wierzbicki walked out of the court with help from a cane and her brother -- no longer afraid her attacker could go free.

"I was going in with the attitude that it probably wasn't going to be good because I just didn't want to get my hopes up, but this is wonderful," said Wierzbicki.

The case against Russell Molleur is now back to square one. The plea deal he previously accepted is off the table.

Until Wednesday, Molleur was facing a maximum of two years with the chance for his attorney to argue for no additional time.

Wierzbicki was choked and beaten unconscious during a bloody attack in her home last March.

In court Wednesday, she told the judge her MS prevented her from fighting back. Though her physical injuries have healed, she deals with the emotional ones every day.

In his ruling, the judge pointed to Wierzbicki's MS and another pending case against Molleur. After court, Wierzbicki said she was grateful the judge listened to her victim's impact statement.

Tim McLaughlin has led the push to get justice for his sister. McLaughlin organized a rally and started an online petition against the plea deal. He brought a binder to court Wednesday with more than 19,000 signatures to show the judge.

"It feels good to not only have the support of the community and to have all this love, but also to have a victory within the walls of the courtroom," said McLaughlin.

Molleur's attorney told the judge her client is very sorry for what happened and has fully cooperated with the investigation. She said he needs to be in a living facility rather than jail because he has intellectual disabilities and is in reality like a child. She also said Molleur's life was fine until five years ago when his mother died and he turned to alcohol.

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