What to Know
- Prosecutors have laid out a scathing timeline leading to the murder of Roderick Covlin's estranged wife
- Prosecutors say Covlin killed his wife -- and later tried to frame their 9-year-old daughter for her death
- Shele Covlin was on the verge of cutting off her ex-husband from substantial sums of money, authorities say
Roderick Covlin sat mostly stone-faced in court Tuesday as the prosecutor spent two and a half hours laying out a scathing timeline leading up to the murder of his estranged wife -- a story of a disgruntled and abusive husband obsessed with extramarital affairs, backgammon and his wife's money, all alleged motives murder.
"He's on trial for murdering the woman he hated with an unrelenting, visceral, ever-growing, all-consuming anger," the prosecutor said.
Shele Covlin, 47, was a successful money manager for UBS before she was found dead in her Upper West Side bathroom tub on New Year's Eve in 2009. Her 9-year-old daughter found her body. Initially, police ruled it an accident, but after exhuming her body, investigators found she had been strangled.
Prosecutors argued that her estranged husband became enraged when he hacked into her email and discovered that she was making moves to remove him from her will -- potentially denying him more than $5 million.
"With Shele out of the picture, he believed he had finally rid himself of the only obstacle standing in the way of the lifestyle he craved," said the prosecutor.
"The only human being on the planet with the motive, the opportunity and the means to have done this is sitting just across from you here in court."
Roderick Covlin's defense attorney vehemently denied the prosecution's version of events, allowing that the divorce was contentious but there was no physical evidence connecting him to Shele's death, and more so that there was no murder, only an accident.
"This is a prosecution out of control," said defense attorney Robert Gottlieb. "What you heard was such a gross, misleading distortion of the facts."