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Further defining what constitutes a dangerous “instrument” under state statute, the Connecticut Appellate Court last month affirmed the conviction of a burglar who repeatedly used his sneaker-clad feet to attack an elderly man. In State v. Kevin McColl, the appellate court ruled that an ordinary object, such as “feet and footwear,” could be used as a dangerous weapon in certain circumstances. Both of the state’s appeals courts previously have ruled that a shod foot could be considered a dangerous instrument. But no prior case law had specifically addressed whether a sneaker fell in that category as well. Writing the unanimous McColl decision, Senior Judge Antoinette L. Dupont noted that the word “instrument” has not been defined under C.G.S. � 53a-3, the state’s Penal Code. Relying on the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, which defines an instrument as “a means whereby something is achieved, performed or furthered,” Dupont wrote that an ordinary object may be a dangerous instrument. McColl was convicted of assault on a victim aged 60 or older in the second degree and two counts of first-degree robbery. In 1999, a jury found McColl guilty of robbing a couple of $1,900. Nearly 6-feet tall and 195 pounds at the time, McColl repeatedly kicked a 71-year-old man with a heart condition in the stomach, back and head, and threatened to kill him if he moved. Dupont said, from the evidence presented, the jury could have reasonably concluded that McColl’s “feet and footwear” were a dangerous instrument in the way they were used because of “the size of [McColl], the victim’s age and health, the location of the kicking, and the number and force of kicks, which was intensified by the weight of the footwear.” Public defender Kent Drager, who represented McColl on appeal, said he would ask for certification to appeal the decision to the Connecticut Supreme Court. Waterbury Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Eva Lenczewski prosecuted the case for the state.

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