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July 16, 2019

Domestic strangling ‘victim’ on Upper West Side was dead long before 911 was called: witnesses

February 14, 2019
Shele Covlin was found dead by first responders on Dec. 31, 2009. (Jill Lotenberg)

The UBS financial adviser allegedly strangled by her vindictive estranged husband nine years ago had been dead for hours by the time he called police to report the emergency, first responders testified Wednesday.

Shele Covlin, 47, a mom of two, was first seen by EMTs, firefighters and cops after her estranged husband Roderick Covlin, now on trial for her murder, called 911 after 7 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2009.


Retired FDNY Lt. Matthew Casey was the first emergency worker to arrive at the apartment and see Shele’s lifeless body on the bathroom floor in her W. 68th apartment. A firefighter on his team had determined there was nothing they could do, and Firefighter William Rix said he believed she’d been dead “for at least several hours.”

“He said she’s been dead for quite a while,” Casey testified.

Paramedic Bobby Wong, who also took the witness stand, declared her dead on arrival.

The couple’s 9-year-old daughter Anna had found her mom on the floor and called her father, who was living across the hall, for help. Prosecutors say Covlin staged the crime to look like an accident. Roderick’s lawyers assert Shele slipped and died in a freak fall.

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