Police/FireThe Putnam Examiner

Krivak Found Not Guilty of Rape in Wright Retrial in Putnam

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A man who spent nearly a quarter of a century in prison for the rape and murder of a 12-year-old Carmel girl was acquitted Monday by a jury in a retrial in the Putnam County Courthouse.

Andrew Krivak has been out of jail on bail since Oct. 2020, more than a year after his conviction for murdering and raping Josette Wright was thrown out by a New York State Supreme Court judge and a new trial was ordered. Since he was acquitted of the rape charge, the jury was not allowed to rule on the second-degree murder charge.

In one of the most gruesome crimes in Putnam County’s history, Krivak and Anthony DiPippo were convicted in 1997 of the rape and murder of Wright, who disappeared from her home in Carmel October 4, 1994. Krivak and DiPippo were both 14 at the time. Wright’s remains were found in the woods more than a year later by a hunter in Patterson.

A girlfriend of DiPippo at the time testified to witness the pair attack Wright in a van before disposing of her body. However, no physical evidence connected Krivak or DiPippo to the victim or the crime scene.

When Krivak was arrested in 1996, he gave a damaging statement that his legal team maintained was coerced by county investigators. That statement and circumstances surrounding it became key evidence in his retrial.

Krivak was tried separately from DiPippo, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years to life on June 11, 1997. DiPippo was tried immediately afterwards, convicted, and sentenced to 25 years to life on July 11, 1997. On appeal, Krivak’s conviction was affirmed, but DiPippo’s conviction was reversed, due to a conflict of interest. DiPippo was then tried again and convicted. His second conviction was also reversed, this time because evidence had been kept from the jury that Howard Gombert, serving a prison sentence in Connecticut for abusing a nine-year-old girl, had also confessed to the murder of Wright and was suspected of the crime by Carmel Police.

After DiPippo was acquitted in 2016, Putnam County was exposed to liability for federal civil rights violations, including wrongful conviction and due process claims. The decision by the Legislature in 2020 to settle for $12 million was made to reduce the risk to county taxpayers of a much larger verdict being awarded at trial. In fact, since DiPippo was incarcerated for nearly 20 years, he could have potentially been awarded up to $30 million, plus millions in legal fees, by a federal jury in White Plains.

Putnam was responsible for paying only $200,000, with the rest covered by insurance.

At the time, Putnam District Attorney Robert Tendy, who served as the prosecutor in Krivak’s retrial, condemned the Legislature’s decision, maintaining DiPippo’s civil rights were never violated. Tendy also said he was convinced Krivak committed the crime, and he reportedly reaffirmed that stance walking out of the courtroom Monday.




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