Andrew Krivak Faces Trial Again for Putnam County Killing – NBC New York

A high-stakes murder retrial is about to begin in Putnam County, 25 years after two men were convicted of raping 12-year-old Josette Wright.

Andrew Krivak, now 45, is fighting for his life — for a second time.

“I’m ready,” he told the I-Team in an exclusive interview. “The facts and the evidence are overwhelming that I’m innocent.”

Krivak and his best friend, Anthony DiPippo, were convicted in 1997 in two separate trials, even though investigators presented no physical evidence linking the two then-teens to the crime. They ended up in prison after several friends implicated the young Carmel residents. Several of the witnesses later testified sheriff’s officers had pressured them to lie.

Investigators primarily relied on a teen named Denise Rose, who testified she was in a van with DiPippo and Krivak when they assaulted and then killed Josette. Over the years, Rose has changed details of her story — several times in written statements and in sworn testimony .

Attorney Mark Baker, who later joined DiPippo’s defense team, said investigators pressured Rose.

“They fed a witness, the only one who could implicate them, a full story. And, they had her testingifying to it at pains of doing 25 years to life,” he said.

In 2016, a jury acquitted DiPippo after a third trial. The defense was allowed to present evidence pointing to another suspect, a local man named Howard Gombert, currently serving time for a sex crime in neighboring Connecticut. A prison inmate testified Gombert confessed to killing Josette, and two Putnam County women told the jury Gombert had raped them as young girls.

Said Mark Agnifilo, DiPippo’s trial attorney: “The evidence I think is overwhelming that Howard Gombert is the killer. And the jury felt the same way.”

Gombert has denied any criminal involvement.

DiPippo sued for wrongful imprisonment in civil court. Without admitting wrongdoing, Putnam County settled for $12 million dollars; New York State paid him $2.9 million. He is now in Florida.

Krivak’s conviction was overturned in May 2019. The district attorney’s office announced it would retry him, with jury selection scheduled to begin Nov. 9th.

Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy, who declined an interview, said in a statement: “We are looking forward to presenting our evidence at trial and holding the defendant accountable for these crimes.”

Prosecutors are expected to present a statement to investigators in 1996 where Krivak admitted guilt. His attorneys will argue the confession is false.

Josette’s uncle, Scott Allen, who said he doesn’t speak for the family, told the I-Team he still believes Krivak and DiPippo committed the crime.

“They absolutely did it,” he said.

“I feel badly for Josette’s family,” Krivak said. “They were lied to like so many others.”

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