Father tried to frame 9-year-old daughter in wife's murder: prosecutors
A New York stockbroker on trial for the 2009 murder of his estranged wife attempted to frame the pair's young daughter for the crime four years after it took place.
Prosecutors say Roderick Covlin, 45, panicked when the District Attorney reopened its investigation into the death of his wife, banker Shele Danishefsky, in 2013 and fabricated a note from their daughter Anna stating she had killed her mother, the New York Post reports.
"All of these years I have been so incredibly afraid and guilty about the night my mom died," Covlin wrote in 2013, posing as Anna, who was 12 at the time.
"I lied. She didn’t just slip. That day we got into a fight about her dating … I got mad so I pushed her, but it couldn’t have been that hard! I didn’t mean to hurt her! I swear!" the fake confession continued. "But she fell and i (sic) heard a terrible noise and the water started turning red and I tried to pull her head up but she remained still…"
Danishefsky was discovered floating face-down in the bathtub of her New York City apartment on the morning of New Year's Eve 2009 by Anna, who was just nine-years-old when her mother died.
Upon discovering her mother's body, Anna frantically called her father, who rushed over, pulled his wife from the tub, and attempted to perform CPR.
At the time, Covlin and Danishefsky were living in separate apartments on the same floor of an Upper East Side, Manhattan, building amid a vicious divorce and custody battle over their daughter and 3-year-old son, Myles, the New York Post reports. The day after she was killed, Danishefsky was set to meet with lawyers to cut Covlin out of her $4 million will entirely.
At first, Danishefsky's orthodox Jewish family refused an autopsy due to religious customs. However, her body was later exhumed with her family’s permission, and an autopsy concluded in April 2010 that Danishefsky had been strangled. Her death was then reclassified as a homicide.
Covlin was finally arrested in 2015 for his wife's murder, following six years of suspicion and intense scrutiny, after he allegedly bragged to his new girlfriend about his crime.
He was less than two months away from inheriting half of Danishefsky's $4 million fortune when he was charged, the New York Post reports.
Covlin pleaded not guilty for his wife's murder and has maintained that her death was accidental, but investigators have rejected his claims from the beginning.
"We always knew he did it," a law enforcement source said after his arrest.
If convicted, Covlin may face 25 years to life in prison.
The couple's children have remained in the custody of Covlin's parents in Scarsdale, New York, as the case continues.