True Crime

He snapped his wife’s neck then tried to frame his own DAUGHTER for her murder

Rod Covlin would do anything to get his hands on his wife's fortune...
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Finding your soulmate in a bustling city can seem impossible, but when Shele Danishefsky, 36, locked eyes with Rod Covlin, 25, across a bar, it was love at first sight.

The pair wanted to elope that very night but Shele’s sister Eve talked some sense into them and the couple decided to wait, tying the knot a few months later.

Their daughter Anna was born two years after that in 2000, followed by son Myles, in 2006.

But although initially besotted with Rod’s roguish charm, Shele became fed up.

The mum-of-two came from a wealthy family and was successful in her own right, holding an executive position with an investment banking firm.

Rod was an unemployed stockbroker who enjoyed martial arts and dreamed of becoming a professional backgammon player.

Shele expressed her annoyance to Eve.

‘She said, “He doesn’t get a job. He goes to the gym twice a day, and he’s just hanging around the house.” It was frustrating her,’ Eve told US show Dateline.

The final straw came when, on their 10-year wedding anniversary, Rod asked Shele if she’d consider an open relationship.

Shele reckoned divorce was a better option.

Rod moved into the apartment across the hall and decided the only way to retain access to Shele’s $7.4 million fortune was to discredit his wife and get custody of the kids.

On December 30, 2009, after months of Rod falsely accusing her of everything from sexually abusing Myles to taking drugs, Shele told Rod she’d already removed him as beneficiary of her retirement fund.

She’d also told people 
she had an appointment 
the next day to remove him from her will.

But Shele would never make that appointment.

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(Credit: Getty Images)

At 7.30am on New Year’s Eve, Anna, nine, found her mum floating face-down in the bath, the water stained red by the blood gushing from a wound on her head.

Alerted by his daughter, Rod rushed to help, performing CPR while calling emergency services.

But it was no use. Shele, 47, was dead, having apparently slipped while taking a bath.

In keeping with her Jewish beliefs, no autopsy was performed and Shele was buried two days later.

But over the following months, suspicions grew.

Rod claimed he’d dragged Shele from the bath, but police noted his clothes were clean and dry when they arrived.

They also noted the bathroom cabinet door hanging from 
its hinges.

And after having a special hair treatment at a salon, Shele had been instructed to keep her hair bone-dry for 72 hours.

Why would someone who never took baths, decide to have one without protecting her hair?

Shele’s family authorised her remains to be exhumed and were horrified when the autopsy revealed she’d been strangled.

‘It was no accident, and she put up a fight,’ prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos said.

Because the bathroom had never been declared a crime scene, no physical evidence had been retained.

Shele’s family filed a wrongful death suit, freezing her estate so Covlin wouldn’t see a cent, and prosecutors spent years gathering circumstantial evidence and witness testimonies.

By far the most damning revelations came from Covlin’s girlfriend Debra Oles – who he’d been dating before separating from Shele.

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(Credit: Getty Images)
Getty Images
(Credit: Getty Images)

‘He told me that his wife had an accident and died,’ Debra recalled. ‘My very first thought was, that’s a really weird coincidence that basically solves all his problems.’

During the investigation Anna and Myles had been placed in the custody of Covlin’s parents, and Debra revealed Rod was constantly plotting how to get them back so he could access their inheritance.

Debra said he even coached Anna to say her grandad – his own father – had raped 
her, but she refused.

In 2013, he even accessed Anna’s email account and wrote an email, as though Anna were confessing to killing her mum when she was just nine.

She didn’t just slip. I got mad so I pushed her, he wrote, trying to frame his own daughter.

In 2015, prosecutors finally had all the evidence they needed and Covlin was charged with murder.

In court, Roderick Covlin, 45, pleaded not guilty.

The court heard he’d snuck into Shele’s apartment, snapped her neck, then tried to make it look like an accidental drowning.

‘His primary motive for killing his wife was pure, unadulterated greed,’ the prosecutor said.

In March this year, the jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 25 years to life.

‘The past few years have been brutally painful,’ Eve’s husband Marc said on behalf of the family.

‘We always had confidence that ultimately this day would come.’

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