Montville Police Officer Gregg Jacobson may not have known it at the time, but the suspect he tangled with today not only served time in a San Diego jail for burglary, he'd admitted in open court in 2009 that he was involved in a string of burglaries, assaults and robberies. And what’s more, his fellow gang of thieves, all disgraced U.S. Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton, are facing the death penalty for the murder, rape and torture of a Marine sergeant and his wife.
But back to today.
Jacobson was working traffic enforcement with colleague East Lyme police officer Mark Hallbauer. The two were parked on Silver Falls Road, adjacent to Route 161 when Justin Weissinger allegedly raced by; Jacobson clocked him at 78. The suspect then took the officers on a chase through Montville and East Lyme before he ditched the car in a Cardinal Road driveway and took off on foot. Connecticut State Police K-9 was called in and soon enough; law enforcement had Weissinger in custody, him and his loaded .38. (Weissinger had admitted in the California murder case he’d carried a handgun on burglaries and home invasions.)
Justin P. Weissinger, 25, of Lyme, arrested Tuesday by Connecticut State Police after tangling with Montville’s officer Jacobson, is now sitting in a Connecticut lock-up. Weissinger faces a number of felony charges including criminal possession of a loaded firearm, possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle – the knife, interfering with a police officer, possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics not in original container, possession of drug paraphernalia, engaging police in a pursuit, illegal operation of a motor vehicle while under suspension, larceny, reckless driving and possession of marijuana. He is being held on $50,000 bail and is next due in court August 14.
Weissinger was the star prosecution witness against his former partners in crime; they had done a string of similar home invasions together, he testified. He was in jail when the four allegedly committed the burglary that ended up a nationally reported and racially charged brutal double murder. Or he might have been in on it, too.
Four of the gang were charged with invading the home of Marine Sgt. Jan Pietrzak and his wife Quiana Faye Jenkins-Pietrzak, in 2008. The men allegedly bound the couple, tortured them, raped the woman, and then shot them at point-blank range in an attempt to rob them of money, it turns out, the couple did not have. The case was highly publicized and dubbed racially motivated; the four defendants are black; the couple was interracial, according to reports.
According to a chilling account of the brutal murders – and Weissinger’s violent criminal history – he was “kicked out of the (Marine) Corps” after testing positive for drugs. He was jailed in 2009 on charges he evaded police after an alleged home burglary; he told the court he was on drugs that “zapped much of his memory of that night.” He told police of his friendship with one of the four Marines charged in the double homicide but added that he was fearful after being told the details of the killings, so he said he “carried a pistol everywhere he went — even when partying with the friend he now feared.” A friend, one of the crew that teamed up for home-invasion robberies and burglaries.
Weissinger told the court, he and his fellow Marines “began stealing things from houses, always at night and usually armed. Sometimes, he said, people were inside the houses or apartments and the crimes became more violent.”
One such tale: Weissinger, Marine Tyrone Miller and Miller’s then girlfriend robbed an alleged drug dealer, one of “more than 10” such home invasions and burglaries Weissinger admitted to participating in, using bandanas to hide their faces armed with handguns. They robbed and then beat the alleged dealer’s girlfriend. As they entered the house. Weissinger said he and Miller were armed with handguns.
“He was dangerous then, he’s dangerous now, absolutely,” said Jacobson’s new supervisor, newly installed Montville Resident State Trooper Sgt. Martin Martinez. “Hopefully he’ll stay (locked up).”