NEW LONDON — Accused murderer Louis M. Seignious Jr. has waived his right to an extradition hearing and will be returned to Rhode Island later this month, but he will first be expected to answer to felony charges related to a subsequent police chase in Connecticut.
Seignious, of Norwich, was arraigned in New London Superior Court Monday morning as a fugitive from justice on a Rhode Island count of first-degree murder, as well as on charges filed by both the City of Groton Police Department and Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department.
The 31-year-old is accused of fatally shooting his cousin, 28-year-old Ledyard man Vincent A. Sebastian, at point-blank range in the doorway of a Marriot Avenue residence on Jan. 25 before leading police on a chase in Connecticut later that evening and escaping into a wooded area in Ledyard.
Seignious was arraigned Monday on Mashantucket charges of first-degree reckless driving, attempt to commit first-degree assault on public safety, disobeying the signal of an officer and engaging police in pursuit related to the chase. He was also arraigned on City of Groton charges of interfering with police and two counts of first-degree criminal mischief related to his efforts to evade police on Saturday night.
He remains in custody in lieu of $1.5 million in court set bonds, officials said. He is due in Part A of New London Superior Court on Feb. 19.
"It is my understanding that he will have a hearing related to the felony charges out of Mashantucket on Feb. 19, then we will be able to return him to Rhode Island later that day," said Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey.
According to both Westerly and City of Groton police, Seignious was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Saturday after a woman at the Branford Manor apartment complex recognized him and called 911. The police said he attempted to escape into an attic above five apartments and was lying between rafters on foam insulation and drywall when the drywall gave way, causing him to fall into a bedroom below where police were waiting.
The owner of the apartment was not home at the time, the police said, and Seignious was taken into custody without further incident.
Lacey on Monday praised the woman who called police, saying she "handled the matter as well as we could have hoped" and provided them the opportunity to arrest Seignious prior to his cousin's funeral.
"The victim was scheduled to be buried in the Mashantucket area (on Monday) and it was our understanding that there may be bad blood between family members," Lacey said. "This will not only provide closure, but served to potentially help prevent any additional violence."
Although the police said the incident in Westerly took place over the course of just a few minutes, his mother Alethea Gilliam claimed in a fundraising request posted on GoFundMe Thursday that her son was ambushed upon arriving at the home by Sebastian and two others and shot Sebastian in self-defense.
That post, which remained active on the site as of late afternoon Monday, had led to only one anonymous donation for $5.
Lacey said Monday that the investigation remains active, but that there was no evidence to support Gilliam's claims. He said Seignious remains "very uncooperative" and has refused to give police his account of what happened.
Westerly police are also continuing to investigate whether friends or family may have aided his efforts to elude police and will file additional charges if it is determined he had help in escaping custody and remaining undetected.
"It is very likely he had assistance and there are some serious charges related to that," Lacey said. "If we determine, through assistance with prosecutors, that there is sufficient evidence, then we will file additional charges or make additional arrests as needed."