Sebastian says he kept guns, owed cousin nothing
By Karen Florin
Publication: The Day
Published 12/18/2009 12:00
Eastern Pequot tribal member Mark R. Sebastian denied transferring pistols to a cousin who is a convicted felon at his firearms trial Monday.
His response to the allegations, from the first time a federal agent asked him about it, has been, "Emphatically, repeatedly, no," Sebastian said.
Sebastian is accused of buying three pistols on Nov. 1, 2005, transferring them immediately to his cousin, Calvin "CJ" Sebastian, and later giving the cousin a fourth handgun. In taking his case to trial, he turned down the state's offer to plead guilty in exchange for a prison sentence of up to two years. He now faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted.
The key witness against Sebastian is his cousin, Calvin, a convicted drug dealer whom the state brought from federal prison to testify against Sebastian. Calvin Sebastian said he went with Mark to Ron's Guns in East Lyme, picked out the weapons and took possession of them that day. He said Mark gave him a fourth gun, his personal pistol, at a later date. The cousin said Mark Sebastian owed him money for loans and narcotics.
Mark Sebastian said he took the guns to the Eastern Pequot reservation to test-fire them, then brought them to his house in Groton. He said the guns remained there after his ex-wife, Catherine Young, served him with divorce papers, and that was the last he saw them.
Sebastian denied he owed his cousin money, and said, in fact, that he had taken in Calvin's girlfriend when Calvin was incarcerated and had paid for $900 in collect calls from the prison, car repairs and moving expenses.
Defense attorney Adam A. Laben also called on Sebastian's girlfriend, brother, sister and fellow tribal members in an effort to prove to the jury that Sebastian kept the handguns.
Linda D. Hazard-Stephens, Sebastian's girlfriend, said she saw two handguns - one black and one silver - in a box when she visited Sebastian at his trailer on the Eastern Pequot reservation around Christmas in 2005.
Tribal member Eugene R. Young Jr. said he saw Sebastian at the reservation on Nov. 1, 2005, with guns. Young said he remembered the date because the tribe's federal recognition, granted preliminarily in 2002, had just been overturned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Young said he was talking with Sebastian's brother, Ashbow, when Sebastian pulled up.
"He had a box in his car and he had some guns in it," Young testified. He said there were at least three guns. Ashbow Sebastian testified that he, too, saw the guns that day. He said Calvin Sebastian was not with his brother that day.
Sebastian's sister, Dawnrae Rocha, said her brother showed her a handgun at Christmastime in 2005. She said they have gone target practicing on the reservation together, and her brother always brought at least one gun.
William M. Glenn, a private investigator for the defense, testified that he interviewed Calvin Sebastian in April 2009 in a Rhode Island prison. Calvin told him the men took the guns directly to Calvin's girlfriend's house in New London and locked them up, and that Calvin planned to hold them as collateral until Mark repaid a $1,000 debt.
Prosecutor Paul J. Narducci will cross-examine Sebastian when the trial resumes today. The jury then will hear closing arguments and the judge's instructions before beginning deliberations.