Judge Gill back in courthouse to conduct a wedding
Retired Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill, center, of Litchfield with newlyweds Dr. Henry Lee and Jiang Xiaping following Saturday's ceremony at the former Litchfield County courthouse. BZ photos
The vacant Litchfield County courthouse came to life, briefly, on Saturday when retired Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill conducted the wedding of his longtime friend Dr. Henry Lee and Chinese entrepreneur Jiang Xiaping.
Gill, who spent much of his 30-plus year career as a judge in the Litchfield courthouse, has been friends with Lee for about 40 years and was pleased to be chosen to officiate the wedding in the second-floor courtroom where he used to presde.
Lee, 80, is an internationally-known forensic scientist who was Connecticut's chief criminologist and director of the state police forensic laboratory for 22 years. His expertise is still sought by the legal profession and he remains a criminology professor at the University of New Haven, where he is the founder of the Forensic Research Training Center.
Lee's wife of 57 years, Margaret, died last year. He knew Jiang as a friend for more than 10 years before hiring her as a special assistant following the death of his wife. Jiang is chairman of a garment manufacturer in China. Both have two children. All four were at the wedding.
Gill and Lee met in thr late 1970s when Gill, then a public defender for the state, hired Lee to provide his expertise in a rape case Gill was handling. Lee's testimony led to a jury declaring Gill's client not guilty. Lee's use of DNA evidence in his testimony was a first for a court case in Connecticut.
After telling Gill he wanted the wedding to be held in Litchfield, Gill suggested the courthouse and made arrangements with its owner, the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust, to have it opened for the ceremony.
Gill's son, Dr. James Gill, chief medical examiner for Connecticut, attended the ceremony. Gill interned under Lee as a college student and credits Lee for stoking his interest in medical science. Also witnessing the wedding was retired Connecticut Appellate Court Judge Anne C. Dranginis, who was the prosector in the case Lee helped win for Judge Gill.
A reception followed at West Street Grill.
Old friends Dr. Henry Lee and Judge Charles D. Gill.
Listening to Dr. Lee speak after the wedding ceremony are, seated from left, Dr. James Gill, Joan Gill, Anne C. Dranginis and Charles D. Gill.
Dr. Lee and his bride are interviewed by a Chinese news crew after the ceremony.
West Street Grill owner James O'Shea visits the couple during a reception at the restaurant.