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July 16, 2019

Nanny for kids of Upper West Side mom allegedly killed by her husband testifies he was one who broke the news of her death

February 7, 2019
Covlin family nanny Hyacinth (Rose) Reid testifies in State Supreme Court on Feb. 6, 2019 in New York. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

The nanny for Shele Covlin’s kids arrived to the mother’s Upper West Side apartment the morning her employer was found dead and collapsed with grief.

Then she started asking questions.


“I just fell to the carpet, screaming and crying,” Hyacinth (Rose) Reid told jurors Wednesday at the murder trial of Shele’s husband Roderick Covlin.

Reid, who had been with the family since the birth of the couple’s 9-year-old daughter, said it was Roderick who broke the news to her when she got to Shele’s W. 68th St. apartment around 8 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2009, to report to work as usual.

“Shele had an accident in the bathroom,” she said Roderick told her. “And he said she’s dead.”

But Reid, who said Shele had previously told her that she was scared of her husband — and who testified she once walked in on the couple after Roderick had thrown his wife to the floor — started grilling him on the details of Shele’s death later that day.

“I asked how bad did she hit her head, if the gash on her head could make her bleed out?” Reid told jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“How much water was inside the tub?”

Roderick Covlin sits at the defense table during his murder trial in New York State Supreme Court in January 2019.
Roderick Covlin sits at the defense table during his murder trial in New York State Supreme Court in January 2019. (Alec Tabak for New York Daily News)

Roderick told her there wasn’t much water and that the scene was not very bloody. He told her he had performed CPR to try to revive her, Reid testified.

Prosecutors say he choked Shele Covlin lifeless because the deadbeat backgammon addict stood to lose his lavish lifestyle in the divorce.


Covlin was charged with Shele’s murder several years after she died. Police initially called it an accident.

Reid also testified that Roderick had said to Shele he would “move her permanently” if she took his kids away. It’s not clear what was meant by the alleged threat.

She admitted she could not recall Shele’s exact words when she relayed that story to her.

Covlin’s lawyers say the wife’s death was the result of an accidental fall.

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