Glen Head native and convicted killer Christopher DiMeo goes to trial Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court, almost six years after authorities said he and his girlfriend murdered the husband-and-wife owners of a Fairfield, Conn., jewelry store amid a violent heroin-induced robbery spree.

DiMeo, 29, has pleaded not guilty to shooting Timothy and Kimberly Donnelly, both 52, in their store on Feb. 2, 2005. He is already serving a life sentence for killing Glen Head jeweler Thomas Renison, 48, in his store on Dec. 21, 2004 - a crime that his girlfriend helped him with and in which his own mother drove the getaway car, authorities said.

The girlfriend, Nicole Pearce, 23, who cased the store, and DiMeo's mother were convicted as accessories to murder.

Pearce has pleaded guilty to felony murder for her role in the Fairfield case and is awaiting sentencing. She's serving a 20-year prison sentence in connection with the Glen Head robbery and murder.

DiMeo's mother, Maryann Taylor-Casey, was sentenced to 15 years in the Renison case. She was not linked to the Fairfield case.

During the robbery at their store, DiMeo shot Kim Donnelly six times, her husband five times, authorities allege.

DiMeo, who had previously fought extradition to Connecticut, claiming New York did not have jurisdiction to extradite him, may face the death penalty if convicted.

DiMeo and Pearce were arrested at a $39-a-night Atlantic City motel just days after the Fairfield murders. Police said they had also linked DiMeo to other robberies and said that he and Pearce had stolen an estimated $380,000 during their spree - all to feed heroin addictions. Authorities said Taylor-Casey, then 40, was a self-described heroin addict, too.

Just days after DiMeo was arrested in 2005 by police from four jurisdictions, Terry Rogers, a former high school counselor working with inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Facility, told Newsday there had been signs DiMeo faced a turbulent, crime-ridden future when she first met him - in May 2001.

DiMeo was in Nassau County jail for two months on probation violation and burglary charges when Rogers began meeting with him to help him prepare for his release. Rogers could already see the stranglehold heroin had on DiMeo.

"He didn't stand a chance," Rogers said. "He had no place to live, no GED, no job and he wanted to keep using heroin. I told him he would wind up dead or back in jail."

Rogers said she talked to his mother, Taylor-Casey, about DiMeo and expressed concern over his drug habit. But she was struggling with her own heroin addiction.

She wanted to get her son into a rehabilitation facility in Glen Head, Rogers said, but DiMeo had no interest, opting instead to move back in with his mother.

The last time Rogers spoke with Taylor-Casey in 2001, she told the counselor she was using heroin again - and she had kicked out DiMeo because he stole from her.

With a history of drug use and run-ins with the law, red flags emerged early on that DiMeo was headed down a dangerous path, Rogers said, but little was done to stop him.

"He really needed someone to take him by the hand early on. The answer's got to be sooner than later," Rogers said.

With Ann Givens and Denise M. Bonilla

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