About 10 years ago Heather Specyalski was acquitted of manslaughter in the death of prominent Rocky Hill businessman Neil Esposito, who was killed in a car accident on Route 9 that nearly took Specyalski’s life as well.
Today, Specyalski is once again on trial on a manslaughter charge and fighting to stay out of prison, this time in connection with the overdose death of her son, 15-year-old Brandon Specyalski, who died at his mother's home in August of 2008 from a combination of alcohol and drugs.
The state accuses Specyalski of negligent homicide, second-degree manslaughter and three counts of risk of injury to minor. Prosecutors say she caused Brandon's death because she bought him and his friends alcohol the night of Aug. 23 and allowed Brandon to take her prescription drugs.
Specyalski now lives in Killingly and her trial, in Danielson Superior Court, is entering its third day, according to the Hartford Courant.
Her 2004 trial riveted those in the Hartford region and beyond, in part because Esposito, who was 42 at the time, was a member of a powerful and politically well-connected family. Some critics believed the family used its connections with then-governor John Rowland to get the state to bring charges against Specyalski, a former model who lived in Vernon at the time.
Her lawyers said the case was reopened because Esposito's father, Raymond Esposito, requested it after police determined that Neil Esposito was driving when the accident occurred.
The initial police investigation determined that Esposito was behind the wheel of his Mercedes and that it was going about 120 mph when it went off the state highway in Cromwell on an October night 1999. Later, however, after a request from his family, the state reopened the investigation, determined that Specyalski was driving and charged her with second-degree manslaughter.
During testimony in that trial the state trooper who conducted the first investigation stood by his finding that Esposito was the driver, according to a Hartford Courant report at the time.
The jury in that trial ultimately found in Specyalski's favor.