A former East Lyme man was convicted of murder and other charges Monday in the 1998 execution-style slaying of Scott Rufin in Old Saybrook.
A jury in Middletown Superior Court returned guilty verdicts against 32-year-old Dwight Pink Jr. after deliberating for about nine hours over three days, The Hartford Courant reported.
Pink was convicted of all seven counts — murder, conspiracy, tampering with evidence, tampering with a witness, threatening, intimidating a witness and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Pink has a previous record of robbery and larceny convictions.
Sentencing was set for Jan. 6. The charges carry more than 100 years in prison.
After the verdicts, state prosecutors declined to say if they were pursuing a man identified in court records as Pink’s co-conspirator.
The jury heard testimony about Marc Celeste’s possible role in the killing and his tape-recorded admissions to a police informant. No arrest warrant for Celeste has been issued.
Pink’s father was shot dead by state police after he wounded a car salesman and hijacked a school van in Portland nine years ago. Now the son stands convicted of one of Old Saybrook’s most notorious homicides.
Rufin, a 35-year-old father of two sons, remained a missing person for two years, until Pink confessed to his probation officer that he had participated in the killing. Pink led the shocked officer to Rufin’s skeletal remains in the woods off Cedar Swamp Road in Chester.
Rufin had worked at marinas along the shoreline and was employed as a tree-cutter when he left the Sol-E-Mar Cafe in Old Saybrook with Celeste on April 13, 1998. Rufin was killed later that night at Celeste’s home on Schoolhouse Road in Old Saybrook, and a neighbor testified that her husband heard Celeste’s voice when he went out to investigate a gunshot.
Two motives surfaced during the three-week presentation of evidence: a mob hit or a love triangle.
Celeste had bragged to the police informant that he killed Rufin for his mob-connected uncle from Bridgeport, whom Rufin owed money, and that Pink was there to help dispose of the body, according to testimony. A former Old Saybrook woman testified that she was romantically involved with Celeste and Rufin in 1997.
The jurors heard less testimony about Pink than about Celeste, but what they did hear came from Pink’s own mouth or pen.
Besides the probation officer, Pink told at least two other people that he was involved in the killing, according to testimony.
The jury rejected Pink’s defense that he acted either under duress or under extreme emotional disturbance. The defense argued that Pink was there, but didn’t kill Rufin, and only implicated himself later because Celeste had threatened to kill Pink’s daughter.