N.Y. Man Murdered Wife, Then Tried to Frame 12-Year-Old Daughter by Writing Fake Confession Note

Unemployed stockbroker Roderick Colvin's lavish life was about to come to a halt when his wealthy wife filed for divorce, so he killed her, say prosecutors

Roderick Covlin
Photo: Jefferson Siegel/NY Daliy News/Getty

A 45-year-old man has been convicted of the 2009 murder of his estranged, wealthy wife who was found dead in the bathtub of her tony Manhattan apartment the day before she planned to cut him out of her will, multiple outlets report.

On Wednesday, a jury found Roderick Covlin guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Shele Danishefsky Covlin, 47, The New York Times reports.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 10.

Colvin, an unemployed stockbroker and backgammon pro, has maintained his innocence since his wife was found dead on New Year’s Eve in 2009.

“It is impossible to know beyond a reasonable doubt what happened to Shele Covlin, how it happened and why it happened,” Colvin’s lawyer, Robert Gottlieb said in closing arguments on Monday, the Times reports.

Lead prosecutor Matthew Bogdano said in his opening statement the motive was “pure unadulterated greed,” the Times reports.

The Covlins were in the midst of a bitter divorce and living in separate apartments across the hall from one another in the upscale Dorchester Towers on West 68th Street when she was killed, CBS News and the Associated Press report.

Danishefsky Colvin, a successful wealth manager at UBS, had filed for divorce in May 2009. She planned to cut her estranged husband out of her will but was killed just a day before she was due to meet with her lawyer.

She had originally planned to leave him $5 million, prosecutors said, CBS News reports.

“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 previously in New York Surrogate’s Court state, NBC New York reports.

Danishefsky Colvin’s death was initially ruled accidental after the couple’s then 9-year-old daughter found her in a bloody bathtub with a large gash on her head, The New York Times reports.

Covlin told police he had administered CPR to his wife after calling 911.

Danishefsky Colvin’s family initially declined an autopsy for religious reasons.

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But they later agreed to have her body exhumed after investigators learned that Danishefsky Colvin had filed for an order of protection against her husband earlier that year, The Journal News reports.

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

In 2011, Danishefsky Colvin’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Covlin claiming he killed her.

In 2013, prosecutors alleged that he tried to frame his daughter, by then 12, by posing as her in a fake confession letter that said she had killed her mother, the Times reports.

Covlin was arrested on Nov. 1, 2015, and charged with two counts of second-degree murder.

His lawyer did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment.

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