Roderick Covlin was arraigned in Manhattan Monday morning on two counts of second-degree murder

By Tara Fowler
November 02, 2015 01:50 PM
Jefferson Siegel/NY Daliy News/Getty

A 42-year-old man long suspected of killing his wife has been charged with her murder nearly six years later.

Roderick Covlin was arraigned in Manhattan Monday morning on two counts of second-degree murder after being arrested over the weekend, PEOPLE confirms. He is accused of killing his wife, Shele Covlin, on Dec. 31, 2009.

Shele’s death was initially ruled accidental after she was found dead with a large gash on her head. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter discovered her body.

Shele’s family initially objected to an autopsy for religious reasons. But they later agreed to have her exhumed after investigators learned that Shele, a UBS wealth manager, had filed for an order of protection against her husband earlier that year, The Journal News reports.

Following the exhumation, a New York City medical examiner determined that Shele showed signs of strangulation and reclassified her death as a homicide.

The Covlins were in the midst of a divorce and living in separate apartments across the hall of their Upper West Side building when Shele was found dead. She had allegedly planned to cut Roderick out of her will, but was killed just a day before she was due to meet with her lawyer.

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In 2011, Shele’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Covlin claiming he killed Shele. “She was fearful for her life, believed Rod intended to kill her, and there was some urgency to make changes in her will,” documents filed in New York’s Surrogate’s Court state, according to Newsday.

Covlin has denied any involvement in her death. His attorney, Robert Gottlieb, told reporters Monday that Covlin was “stunned” by the charges brought against him, adding that his client has always been cooperative with authorities in their investigation into Shele’s death.

“We have said from the beginning that Mr. Covlin has been the focus of enormous pressure to be charged with these crimes,” Gottlieb said. “He is not guilty of the charges.”