An unsuccessful stockbroker charged with murdering his wife reportedly admitted in court this week that he had considered selling his 13-year-old daughter in Mexico to collect on her inheritance.
Rod Covlin, a former stockbroker and renowned backgammon player, is currently on trial for the strangulation death of his estranged wife, Shele Danishefsky, whose body was found in a bathtub in 2009.
Prosecutors say she had planned on meeting with her attorney the next day, ostensibly to cut Covlin out of her will.
Covlin was immediately named a suspect in her death, and evidence indicated a long period of harassment leading up to her murder: he allegedly accused his wife of sexually abusing their three-year-old son, snuck into her apartment and took photographs of the interior “as if to show her he had access,” and told her office supervisor she was a drug addict.
The pre-trial hearings have so far been equal parts lurid and bizarre. And the allegations aren’t limited to the murder: prosecutors also say Covlin attempted to sell his teenage daughter in order to collect on her $1 million trust fund. A portion of the bail hearing transcript, via the New York Daily News:
“The defendant comes up with a plan to kidnap his 13-year-old daughter, take her to Mexico, and pay some Mexican $10,000 to marry her so that she’ll no longer be a minor,” prosecutor Matthew Bogdanos said.
His plan was to “get custody, get access to all of the money.”
“Some Mexican law firm can handle it, make sure it gets done properly,” Covlin is heard saying to an unidentified confidante on the tape, snippets of which were played in court. Justice Bonnie Wittner looked stunned as she heard what Covlin had described.
“He did something that looking back even Mr. Covlin would say obviously he shouldn’t have done, but it was not, again, money … it was to protect his children,” he argued.