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New York - Husband Arrested In Orthodox Jewish Wife's Death In NYC Tub, After 5 Years

Published on: November 2, 2015 11:00 AM
By: AP
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FILE - Roderick Covlin talking with his lawyers in Manhattan Supreme Court after a hearing on child visitation rights for his in-laws on Jan. 6, 2012. (Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)FILE - Roderick Covlin talking with his lawyers in Manhattan Supreme Court after a hearing on child visitation rights for his in-laws on Jan. 6, 2012. (Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

New York - For nearly five years after a finance executive was found strangled in her Manhattan bathtub, suspicion swirled around her estranged husband.

But Roderick Covlin denied involvement, and law enforcement authorities eyed but never accused him until Monday, when he was arrested on a murder charge in a case full of dramatic twists: a death initially seen as accidental and later ruled a homicide, an exhumed body, a divorce that was reaching a crucial point and a trail of accusations in civil court papers.

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Covlin’s lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, declined to comment ahead of Covlin’s arraignment. Gottlieb has previously said there was “no basis to even consider charging Mr. Covlin with the tragic death of his wife.”

Shele Covlin, 47, was a money manager at UBS, part of a finance family in which she worked alongside her brother and father. Her 42-year-old husband, known as Rod, had been a trader and was a noted figure in the backgammon world, having helped found the U.S. Backgammon Federation.

After years of marriage and two children, their relationship was falling apart. He had moved into an apartment across the hall in their Upper West Side building, and they were embroiled in a bitter divorce, according to court papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate’s Court, which handles estates.

And Shele (pronounced SHEE’-lah) Covlin was due to meet an attorney on Jan. 1, 2010 — the day after she died — to cut her husband out of her will. He stood to get half her roughly $4 million estate, with the rest going to their children.

“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 Surrogate’s Court say.

Then their daughter, 9 at the time, found Shele Covlin lifeless in the tub.

FILE - Philip Danishefsky, the brother of Shele Covlin, his wife Peggy and Rabbi Joel Danishefsky, Shele's father, at a trial for Roderick Covlin in Manhattan Supreme Court for a hearing on child visitation rights for Roderick's in-laws. Jan, 6, 2012 (Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)FILE - Philip Danishefsky, the brother of Shele Covlin, his wife Peggy and Rabbi Joel Danishefsky, Shele's father, at a trial for Roderick Covlin in Manhattan Supreme Court for a hearing on child visitation rights for Roderick's in-laws. Jan, 6, 2012 (Photo by Jefferson Siegel/NY Daily News via Getty Images)

With the only obvious sign of trauma a cut on the back of her head, investigators initially thought she had slipped and fallen. After her Orthodox Jewish family objected to an autopsy for religious reasons, the cause of her death was listed as undetermined.

But as an investigation began, her body was exhumed and autopsied with her family’s permission. Medical examiners concluded in April 2010 she had been strangled.

And her relatives — and later, a court agency — said Roderick Covlin was to blame.

Her father scorned his son-in-law as “an animal” in a newspaper interview, and the family fought him for custody of the children. His guardianship was eventually suspended after information on the criminal investigation surfaced.

And the Manhattan public administrator, a government figure who handles complicated estates and was named temporary custodian of Shele Covlin’s, filed a 2011 wrongful death suit accusing her husband of killing her.

Roderick Covlin, meanwhile, has been living in his parents’ house in suburban New Rochelle, New York.



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Read Comments (12)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 02, 2015 at 11:24 AM Anonymous Says:

They might be Jewish but not Orthodox Jewish, why is it importent to put "Orthodox Jewish" in the title, they naver do that to other religion

2

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:03 PM woodman516 Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They might be Jewish but not Orthodox Jewish, why is it importent to put "Orthodox Jewish" in the title, they naver do that to other religion

Because the AP loves orthodox people

3

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:14 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They might be Jewish but not Orthodox Jewish, why is it importent to put "Orthodox Jewish" in the title, they naver do that to other religion

Another I will tell you who is Orthodox. Why not get in touch with the Upper West Side Shule that the deceased was a member of?

4

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:28 PM ItzikGold Says:

Take it as a compliment that when an orthodox Jew is accused of murder that it is considered news worthy since it is so rare.

5

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:33 PM Anonymous Says:

I wonder if her husband is Jewish.

6

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:42 PM bubii Says:

It's a free country you can write whatever you like just because you dont like it doesnt mean others don't like it

7

 Nov 02, 2015 at 12:50 PM chassidisheyid Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They might be Jewish but not Orthodox Jewish, why is it importent to put "Orthodox Jewish" in the title, they naver do that to other religion

When did Hakodesh Boruch Hu appoint you as the final authority on Orthodoxy?

8

 Nov 02, 2015 at 01:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
chassidisheyid Says:

When did Hakodesh Boruch Hu appoint you as the final authority on Orthodoxy?

If u have any idea what an Orthodox jew means u wouldn't asked this qustion

9

 Nov 02, 2015 at 01:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

They might be Jewish but not Orthodox Jewish, why is it importent to put "Orthodox Jewish" in the title, they naver do that to other religion

Why is it when an Orthodox person commits a crime, no one wants to admit he is Orthodox?

10

 Nov 02, 2015 at 02:06 PM Erlich Says:

It's not the first time that an Orthodox Jew has been involved in malfeasance.

11

 Nov 02, 2015 at 02:31 PM clear-thinker Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

If u have any idea what an Orthodox jew means u wouldn't asked this qustion

Yes the husband is Jewish. If you had an idea of what an Orthodox Jew is you might not be so flippant. Additionally why the Orthodox Jew reference....Probably because of the lack of autopsy which complicated the case.

12

 Nov 02, 2015 at 03:06 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

If u have any idea what an Orthodox jew means u wouldn't asked this qustion

Fine so lets rephrase it, the crime was commited by an individual who assocites himself with orthodox jewry. It boils down to the same point. People are labeled for what they associate themsleves with not based on thier actions.
On a similar note, the liberals always claim that Isis & Hamas are not true muslims. They hijack the muslim religion. But we know thats nonsense.

13

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