A New York man attempted to frame his 9-year-old daughter for his wife’s murder years after her death, prosecutors alleged on Monday.
In June 2013, Roderick Covlin, 45, posed as his daughter, then-12-year-old Anna, and wrote a note as a false confession in the 2009 death of her mother, Shele Danishefsky, the New York Post reported.
“All of these years I have been so incredibly afraid and guilty about the night my mom died,” Covlin allegedly wrote.
“I lied. She didn’t just slip. That day we got into a fight about her dating … I got mad so I pushed her, but it couldn’t have been that hard! I didn’t mean to hurt her! I swear!,” the note continued. “But she fell and i (sic) heard a terrible noise and the water started turning red and I tried to pull her head up but she remained still…”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed that Covlin wrote the note, which was addressed to his daughter’s law guardian, to lead authorities elsewhere in their investigation.
Covlin is accused of strangling then-47-year-old Danishefsky to death in a bathtub inside her Upper West Side apartment on Dec. 31, 2009. The two were living in separate apartments in the same building during a bitter divorce when the couple’s daughter found her in the bathroom.
Danishefsky was scheduled to meet with a lawyer on Jan. 1. 2010 — the day after she died — to remove Covlin from her will. He stood to get half her roughly $4 million estate, with the rest going to their children.
With the only obvious sign of trauma a cut on the back of her head, investigators initially thought she had slipped and fallen. After her Orthodox Jewish family objected to an autopsy for religious reasons, the cause of her death was listed as undetermined.
But as an investigation began, her body was exhumed and autopsied with her family’s permission. Medical examiners concluded in April 2010 she had been strangled.
Covlin lost out on the $5 million inheritance when his parents were granted custody of the couple’s children. Prosecutors allege that Covlin concocted a bizarre plan to kill them via sugar laced with rat poison — but he never followed through.
In another plan, prosecutors said Covlin allegedly told his own daughter to accuse her grandfather of raping her — and even instructed her how to break her own hymen. Covlin then allegedly told his girlfriend he might kidnap the girl, then 14, and marry her off to someone in Mexico.
Covlin’s lawyer, according to the New York Post, said the allegations are “garbage … absurd, ridiculous and they will have no role to play in this case.”