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July 20, 2019

Jury in ‘strangler’ husband’s trial sees crime scene photos for the first time

February 12, 2019
Roderick Covlin is seen during his trial in State Supreme Court on January 28, 2019 in New York. Covlin is accused pf murdering his wife Shelle. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

The jury in accused wife strangler Roderick Covlin’s trial got closer to the heart of the case Monday, viewing crime scene photos that included the victim’s covered corpse lying next to a bathtub with blood-stained water.

Covlin, a backgammon-obsessed deadbeat who prosecutors say was emotionally and physically abusive, is accused of fatally choking his estranged spouse Shele inside the bathroom of her W. 68th St. apartment on New Year’s Eve 2009.


Shele’s lifeless body was mostly concealed underneath a blanket taken from her 9-year-old daughter’s bed. The uncovered portion of the 47-year-old’s body was blacked out, but Shele’s left foot — pedicured with red nail polish — was still visible.

The photos were used during cross-examination of the family’s longtime nanny Hyacinth (Rose) Reid, who was asked by Covlin’s attorney about items in the bathroom and her late boss’s housekeeping habits.

Covlin’s lawyer argues Shele slipped and fell in the tub and that her death was accidental. Investigators initially ruled her death an accident.

The nanny, who began working for the Covlins before the oldest child was born, said she was paid by Shele’s family to continue watching the kids for a year following her death.

She admitted that she never witnessed any violent behavior on Covlin’s part when cross-examined by defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb.

Reid testified last week that Shele told her on one occasion that Roderick shoved her to the ground.

Prosecutors say the couple’s relationship unraveled in early 2009 on their wedding anniversary when Roderick asked for an open marriage.

Shele rejected the idea but Covlin carried on without permission.

An analyst from the district attorney’s office said Monday that he sent Facebook messages to over 1,000 women in 2009.

Other records show he was keeping a calendar of drink dates he was able to schedule.

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