The leading suspect in the death of money manager Shele Danishefsky is her estranged husband, Roderick Covlin. But for whatever reason, prosecutors do not have enough evidence to criminally charge him.
However, lacking the evidence to criminally charge Covlin has not stopped the New York County Public Administrator's Office from filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the husband, perhaps stopping him from inheriting half of Danishefsky's multi-million dollar estate, reports the New York Post.
On New Year’s Eve 2009, Danishefsky was found dead in her Upper West Side apartment. She and her husband were dealing with a contentious divorce, including a protective order against her husband filed by one of the best New York City divorce lawyers, reports the Post.
In fact, on the day after she was murdered, the money manager had a meeting scheduled to exclude her husband completely from her will. But before she got the chance, it’s alleged that her husband strangled and beat her to death.
Now in an unusual move, the New York County Public Administrator’s Office, the office which handles the estates of people who die without wills or when there is an issue with an executor, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Covlin, reports the Post.
The effect of this lawsuit would be to ensure that Covlin does not benefit from the suspected murder of his wife.
Generally, the burden of proof to convict someone of murder is very high and prosecutors need a substantial amount of evidence tying the defendant to the crime. However, the burden of proof in a civil wrongful death action is much lower, and the Public Administrator’s Office would only have to show that it is more likely than not that Covlin killed his wife to prevail.
Roderick Covlin is believed to have killed his wife, Shele Danishefsky, as the two were going through a contentious divorce. But as there does not appear to be enough evidence to bring a criminal charge against the husband, the New York County Public Administrator’s Office filed a wrongful death lawsuit instead.
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- Judge blocks Roderick Covlin from slain wife Shele Covlin’s $1.6 life insurance payout; orders hearing (New York Daily News)
- Wrongful Death - Overview (FindLaw)