CT man gets 80 years for 2018 killing of Bethel woman, court officials say

Photo of Liz Hardaway

BRIDGEPORT — A man was sentenced to 80 years Friday for shooting and killing a young therapist from Bethel more than three years ago.

State Superior Court Judge Alex Hernandez sentenced Brandon Roberts, 29, to 60 years for murder, 15 years for first-degree robbery with a deadly weapon and five years for carrying a pistol without a permit. The sentence will be served concurrent, according to the Fairfield Judicial District’s clerk’s office.

A jury found Roberts guilty in April of killing 25-year-old Emily Todd.

Todd, of Bethel, and Roberts met through an online dating app, but after a few days, she broke up with him. On Dec. 8, 2018, he lured her to a boat ramp. The two were walking along a narrow strip of beach near the public boat launch off Seaview Avenue when he shot her once in the back of the head, authorities said.

Police said previously that Todd changed her number that day to avoid further contact with Roberts.

He then stole her car, cellphone and credit cards and emptied her bank account, according to police and statements made during the trial.

Todd was found on the shore of Bridgeport Harbor the next day.

Todd’s family reported her missing on Dec. 9 after she failed to show up for work at Saint John Paul II Center in Danbury, a senior center where she was a therapeutic recreation assistant. Todd was a 2011 graduate of Bethel High School and a 2016 graduate of Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass.

On Dec. 10, police found Todd’s 2018 white Kia in the parking lot of the Quality Inn & Suites on South Avenue in Stratford. Detectives have said in the past that Roberts had been staying in the hotel since Thanksgiving that year with a relative.

Police arrested Roberts, a 2012 Ansonia High School graduate, at his father’s home in Shaker Heights, Ohio on Dec. 14. While being questions in the Shaker Heights police station, Roberts confessed to Bridgeport Police Lt. Chris LaMaine that he had killed Todd and shot another woman near Washington Park a year earlier.

Just days before the shooting, Todd called Bridgeport police to report that her boyfriend, Roberts, had threatened to shoot himself. She gave dispatchers information about his car and his cell phone number, as well as said he owned a gun.

Officers made contact with Roberts while he was driving and a pursuit ensured. The officers ended the chase because of Roberts’ reckless driving.

Those trained to help victims of domestic violence at the Women’s Center of Danbury have previously said they would have flagged Roberts’ threat as a serious warning sign.

During the trial, lawyers representing Roberts didn’t challenge the fact that he pulled the trigger. They argued that Roberts was under “extreme emotional distress” at the time due to the death of his mother the previous year, being homeless and his brief relationship with Todd.

State’s Attorney Joseph Corradino called the homicide “deliberate, intentional and planned” and that Roberts was motivated by money.

When Roberts himself took the stand during the trial, he had no explanation for why he shot Todd.

Roberts is in custody with the state Department of Correction, the clerk’s office said Friday.