It started out as a whirlwind romance.
When Shele Danishefsky, 36, locked eyes with Rod Covlin, 25, across a crowded, Jewish singles party in a New York bar, she was smitten.
The couple decided to elope to Las Vegas that very night but were talked out of it by Shele’s sister, Eve.
Instead, they got married just a few months later, unfazed by the 11 year age gap. Two years later they had a daughter, Anna, followed by a son, Myles.
But after the children were born, things began to sour.
While Shele was a successful executive at an investment bank, Rod was a failed stockbroker who seemed more interested in practising martial arts and playing backgammon than finding another job.
In an interview with US TV show, Dateline, Shele’s sister Eve later recalled: “She [Shele] 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.”
The New York Times reported Shele had also confided in friends about Rod’s ‘erratic’ and ‘abusive’ behaviour. In January 2009, in a message to Eve, Shele wrote that she was “very scared that at some point in the future all his anger and rage may result in something bad happening — he really can’t control his temper.”
Then, on their 10th wedding anniversary, Rod asked Shele to consider an open marriage, the Daily Mail reported.
Disgusted, Shele rejected the idea flat out. Instead, she filed for divorce. Rod moved into an apartment across the hall so he could still have access to the kids.
The split got ugly, fast.
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Rod, desperate for a share of his wife’s $7.4million fortune and custody of the kids, tried to discredit Shele, accusing her sexually abusing their son and taking drugs.
Shele removed Rod as a beneficiary of her retirement fund and planned to remove him from her will.
But the day before she was due to sign the papers – on New Year’s Eve 2009 – Shele was found dead.
Her daughter, Anna, then nine, discovered her mum’s lifeless body in the bathtub in the early hours of the morning.
She had a wound to her head and the water in the tub was red with her blood.
Anna ran to get Rod from his apartment and he attempted CPR before calling emergency services but it was too late. Rod told police Shele must have slipped in the bathtub and banged her head.