Injustice with Nancy Grace: The true story of Roderick Covlin who killed his wife and tried to pin the murder on their 9-year-old daughter
Covlin and Danishefsky had met in 1998 at a Jewish singles meetup and the romance had been quick, even though she was almost a decade older than he was at the time. But things started going downhill - fast.
The chilling murder of successful UBS wealth manager Shele Danishefsky by her husband, failed stockbroker Roderick Covlin shook New York in 2009. The allegations against Covlin were shocking, to say the least.
Covlin and Danishefsky met in 1998 at a Jewish singles meetup and the romance had been quick, even though she was almost a decade older than he was. They ended up tying the knot within weeks. However, things started going downhill soon. Covlin wasn't interested in getting a career and preferred to live off his wife's money. The couple had a daughter together, Anna and a boy Myles later, with the help of a donor egg. Danishefky, 47-years-old at the time of her death, was never allowed to forget that their son wasn't her biological child.
Covlin also led a secret life in the months before he killed his wife, operating under the alias Rod Sommer. During his very public trial, the prosecution also alleged that he wanted to see other women. It is said that he had approached his then-wife with the suggestion of an open marriage, something that Danishefsky refused. He is also said to have met single women on Jewish dating site JDate under the name James Early. The data found on his computer showed that he had been going back and forth with almost two dozen suiters. The authorities, the prosecution said, also found two pornographic stories he had written involving the rape of children as young as 10.
One day he came home smelling of another woman's perfume, Danishefsky asked for a separation . Covlin moved into a smaller apartment just down the hall from where the family lived so that the parents could make it easier on their children. But he did not mend his ways, which meant she served him with divorce papers and the two quickly became embroiled in a bitter custody battle. Danishefsky had the locks changed in her apartment and got an order of protection for her and the kids in May 2009.
Covlin is said to have tried to poison their kids against her, going as far as teaching Myles to falsely accuse Danishefsky of molesting him. In another instance, Danishefsky told her doctor that Covlin had tried to strangle her and said that he would "fucking kill her". She had been terrified for her life.
Just two days after she had written to her legal team to write him out of her will, something he is said to have likely known, she was brutally killed in her own home. Prosecutors said Covlin had broken her neck, snapping her hyoid, causing blood vessels to burst in her eye and she was found with two of her ribs dislocated, according to court papers. However, she was found by their daughter in the home's bathtub in what looked like an accidental drowning.
Covlin then tried to frame his daughter for the murder by sneaking into her Apple notes and writing that she had been angry and had pushed her mother.
When the children were taken into custody by Covlin's parents, he is said to have even tried to get them out of the way. In his trial, it was alleged that he wanted to frame his father for molestation and that he had plans of taking his daughter, 14 at the time to get her married off in Mexico.
It was only almost six years later that a solid case was built against Covlin and the prosecution fought tooth and nail to see him in prison pushing for the maximum sentence allowed for second-degree murder — 25 years to life. Even on his last day in court Covlin maintained his innocence and his two children asked the judge to give him a reduced sentence. However, the judge presiding over the case, Justice Ruth Pickholz, did not take that plea into account because of the evidence against him.
Why did it take so long to get Covlin to pay for his crime? Find out on 'Injustice with Nancy Grace' airing on Saturday, August 31 at 6/5c, only on Oxygen.