Girlfriend pleads not guilty to conspiring to kill Kyle Navin's parents

Kyle Navin and his girlfriend, Jennifer Valiante, appeared in separate court hearings today in Superior Court in Bridgeport in connection with the alleged murder of Navin’s parents, Jeanette and Jeffrey Navin.

Navin, 27, did not make a plea. His attorney, Eugene Riccio, asked for and was granted a continuance to Dec. 16 as a tentative date for a probable cause hearing. Riccio said after the hearing that he was not at liberty to talk about the substance of the case.

Valiante, 31, pled not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and hinderance of prosecution. Her case is expected to go to a jury trial.

Navin is being held on $2.5-million bond, and Valiante is being held on $2-million bond.

Valiante’s attorney, Elliot R. Warren of Westport, said the judge approved a pretrial conference date of Jan. 12 for his client.

“I asked for a little extra time,” Warren said. “I expected the discovery file from the prosecutor was voluminous, and the prosecutor said it was.”

State’s Attorney John Smriga is prosecuting the case. Warren said he wants to study the evidence against Valiante before requesting to reduce her bond.

“She’s maintaining her innocence,” Warren said. “I’m looking forward to getting discovery and seeing more about the case, and if appropriate, asking for a reduction of bond.”

Warren said he doesn’t know yet whether he will seek a different venue for her trial.

“I haven’t focused on trial tactics,” he said. “Her case is separate from Kyle’s. She doesn’t get a probable cause hearing.”

Navin’s charges are Class A felonies and could bring life imprisonment or 50 years to life. Connecticut no longer has the death penalty. Valiante’s charges are Class B and C felonies. She could be sentenced to a minimum of one year and a maximum of 20 years for the conspiracy charge.

“If they are stacked up, she could be facing 50 years if they add hindering prosecution,” Warren said. “They are not inconsequential.”

He said he expects the government at some point will try to combine both cases because the evidence is virtually the same.

“It’s early in the discussion phase,” he said. “I would like a chance to look at the evidence and decide what’s going to happen down the road and decide what’s in the best interest in her case.”

Navin is being held in federal prison in Rhode Island. Valiante is being held at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic.

“She’s doing OK under the circumstances,” Warren said.

Her grandfather and aunt were in the courtroom on Main Street in Bridgeport today, but her father had to work, Warren said.

“Her mom has visited several times, but she gets teary eyed when she visits,” Warren said.

“She sent her love through other relatives and me.”

Mysteriously vanished

Jeffrey Navin, 56, and Jeanette Navin, 55, were reported missing Aug. 7 by family members. Jeffrey Navin was the co-owner with his brother of J&J Refuse in Westport. Jeanette Navin worked for the Weston public schools for the past 18 years. Kyle was the last person to see them, on Aug. 4.

The investigation into the couple’s disappearance was initially handled by Easton police, who quickly brought in the State Police, Western District Major Crime Unit, FBI, U.S. Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies when it became apparent that the couple hadn’t just taken an unplanned vacation.

When questioned by police about his parents’ disappearance, Kyle initially said he thought they might have gone to dinner in New York. He would later change his story several times as to when he last saw his parents and where.

Kyle Navin had a heavy drug problem, which was escalating, according to police. When police conducted a search of his home in Bridgeport on Aug. 19, they found two firearms, ammunition, drug paraphernalia, and evidence he was using heroin, oxycodone and other controlled substances.

This led to Navin being arrested on Sept. 8 and charged with possession of a firearm by an individual who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance.

Startling information was revealed by the FBI in Navin’s arrest warrant affidavit. It contained an excerpt from a final text-message conversation between Kyle and his father, Jeffrey, on Aug. 4, the last day Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin were seen.

Jeffrey Navin texted Kyle, “I’m not going home till I know mom is okay. Did you hurt mom?”

Kyle responded, “No, absolutely not, why would you think …”

Jeffrey later texted, “I go home and get framed for murder.”

Jeffrey then accused Kyle of setting him up.

The affidavit also stated that in their search of Navin’s home in Bridgeport, police discovered a receipt from Home Depot issued on Aug. 5, showing that Kyle Navin purchased germicidal bleach, hair and grease drain opener, “Goo Gone” stain remover, and contractor cleanup bags.

The break in the case came Oct. 29 when Thomas Kerrigan of Westport decided to do some yard work at an abandoned house he owned at 89 Norfield Road in Weston. Around 3 p.m., Kerrigan called the Weston Police Department and reported that he might have found human remains on his property while he was doing yard work.

After an initial investigation of the property, Weston police called in the state police, suspecting the remains might be those of Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin. The next day, state police announced that the office of the chief medical examiner had confirmed the remains were those of Jeffrey and Jeanette Navin.

A warrant was issued charging Kyle Navin with two counts of murder. Valiante was charged with conspiracy to commit murder and hindering prosecution in the first degree.

Law enforcement authorities used text messages and phone records between Kyle Navin and Valiante, among other evidence, in their charges against the couple. The month before his parents disappeared, Kyle Navin wrote in a text message to Valiante that he had the “perfect plan” to get “$ for life,” according to the separate but related arrest warrant affidavits for the pair.

He mentioned a plan to “solve every single problem and give us a wealthy amazing life.”

She replied: “I hear ya. It sounds very good I just don’t know.”

A few days before they vanished, Jeanette Navin confided to a friend that she was distraught over her son whom she suspected was using drugs, and she and her husband planned to cut him out of their will, according to the affidavit.

Read more about the case: Jeanette and Jeffrey Navin died of gunshot wounds.