A Danbury Superior Court jury convicted John Heath of murder Wednesday in the death of his former wife Elizabeth Heath in 1984.
Elizabeth Heath disappeared in 1984 and her remains were not found until April 2010 when she was found buried in the couple's barn. In April 2010, the new owners of the Poverty Road property were renovating a barn when they pulled up some linoleum and found a trap door underneath. From that hole, they pulled out garbage bags containing bedding material, a mattress pad and Elizabeth Heath's remains. Authorities labeled the case a homicide and then murder.
John Heath had told investigators in 1984 he went to sleep the night Elizabeth Heath disappeared, and when he woke up, she was gone. The couple were in the midst of a divorce, but were still living together.
Special Public Defender Frank O'Reilly asked Superior Court Judge Robin Pavia if each jury member could be polled on the verdict, and the 12 jurors stood up, when called, and each said, "guilty."
O'Reilly said after the verdict Heath has maintained his innocence throughout the trial and he is obviously disappointed.
"There are some grounds for appeal," O'Reilly said.
Heath, 70, is confined to a wheel chair and is breathing oxygen from a tube. He did not appear to react to the verdict. Jurors had deliberated since last week, and earlier Wednesday they asked to hear a crude audio tape of the 2010 interview Heath gave police when they told them Elizabeth Heath's body had been found. They also asked to hear Judge Pavia's instructions to the jury again, and they were given a transcript of her instructions, which are called the jury's charge.
Heath was charged with the crime in 2012, and has been held on a $1 million bond since then. Judge Pavia increased the bond to $2 million Wednesday at Assistant State's Attorney Warren Murray's request.