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Trial Begins For Denver Man Accused Of Strangling Wife And Then Taking Kids To Fair
Robert Feldman is accused of strangling his wife, Stacy Feldman in 2015, after she confronted him about an affair, and then taking the couple's children to a church fair before calling police.
The trial for a Denver man accused of killing his wife after she confronted him about a recent affair finally started this week after years of delays.
Robert Feldman, 58, was arrested in 2018 and charged with first degree murder in the 2015 death of his wife, Stacey Feldman, the Denver Post reported. His trial, originally scheduled to begin in April 2020, has been repeatedly delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated difficulties, Denver NBC affiliate KUSA reported.
In opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutors outlined their case against Robert Feldman.
Prosecutors allege that Robert Feldman — who admits to having been a serial adulterer during his marriage — strangled his wife some time on the morning of March 1, 2015 after she confronted him about one of his affairs, according to the paper and the station. They alleged in his arrest affidavit that Feldman then picked the couple's kids up an hour late from Sunday school at a local synagogue and then took them to the adjacent church carnival before returning home around 3:00 p.m.and calling 911, claiming he'd discovered Stacy Feldman unresponsive in the shower. She was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m.
A witness came forward four months after Stacy Feldman's death — after seeing her obituary in the paper — according to KUSA, and told police that she'd met Robert Feldman in February 2015 via the dating app, Tinder; he told her that he was divorced. They had dinner and sex on the night of their second date on Feb. 26, 2015, after which his actions led her to believe he was married. The woman tracked down Stacy Feldman via email on the morning of March 1, confirmed that the couple was neither separated or divorced and forwarded her the messages she'd exchanged with Robert Feldman.
Police say the woman then received a call from Stacy Feldman at 8:52 a.m. the morning of her death, during which Stacy reportedly said it wasn't her husband's first affair and that she was "done with him," according to a police affidavit in the case.
Stacy then texted a friend around 10:00 a.m., mentioning she was due to pick up her children from the school and take them to the carnival at noon and said would meet the friend there. She never arrived.
Instead, Robert Feldman arrived, nearly an hour late and reportedly looked disheveled, behaved curtly and claimed that he thought a friend of the family was picking up the kids that day. He stayed for about an hour at the carnival.
When Feldman called 911 about 3:00 p.m., he claimed to have discovered his wife unresponsive in the shower and claimed to be performing CPR, but there were no noises on the 911 tape consistent with him performing CPR; instead, police said in the affidavit that there is an audible toilet flush and the sound of items being knocked over. When police and paramedics arrived, they observed a rack of bathroom items knocked over in the shower, but no standing water in the tub. Paramedics later told police they felt Robert Feldman was being overdramatic and refusing to answer questions about his wife's medical history; he also reportedly tried to refuse an autopsy on her behalf. At his trial on Wednesday, prosecutors allege the first responders also noticed no water on the floor of the bathroom despite Robert Feldman's assertion that he'd pulled his wife out of the tub, according to the Post.
He told police that he thought she'd ingested edible cannabis the night before and possibly the morning of her death.
The official autopsy showed that Stacy Feldman had no internal injuries that should have caused her death, and eventually ruled it undetermined. Toxicology showed Stacy Feldman had not consumed edible cannabis prior to her death.
Robert Feldman also allegedly told inconsistent stories about his whereabouts and actions that morning to investigators and other family members, claiming first that he'd been out of the house all morning, then claiming he'd briefly stopped back before going to the gym.
Police eventually discovered that Robert Feldman had cashed in his wife's five-year-old, $750,000 life insurance policy in the wake of her death.
In October of 2017, prosecutors sought out a second opinion on Stacy Feldman's cause of death from Dr. William Smock, an expert on domestic violence strangulation. Smock determined, based on photographs and autopsy reports, that Stacy Feldman had been strangled, likely while someone kneeled on her shoulders to pin her down.
Robert Feldman was arrested and charged with her murder on Feb. 16, 2018, according to KUSA.
He was released on maximum supervision house arrest and a $1 million bond.
In the years since his arrest, he used $550,000 of his wife's life insurance policy to hire a high-priced criminal defense attorney; guardians for the couple's children objected and the money was initially confiscated. In July 2019, an appeals court ruled that the family had objected too late to the payment for the lawyer and restored the lawyer's fee, according to Denver Fox affiliate KDVR.
In July 2020 — during the midst of the pandemic — Feldman was cited for renting out his home's pool for commercial parties, a violation of local ordinances, according to KUSA.
In April 2021, Feldman's lawyer and the state were back in court over reports that Feldman had been allegedly abusing the few privileges he was allowed under the provisions of his house arrest: he was allegedly going on long bike rides on a regular basis and making unapproved stops at restaurants and shops that violated the terms of his bond, according to KUSA. The court ruled that Feldman could have the use of his backyard for exercise and attend church services, but that other unapproved visits had to stop in favor of using the delivery options that had proliferated in the wake of the pandemic.
In June 2021, the judge denied Feldman's request to return to work pending his murder trial, KUSA reported. (The station also reported at that time that profiles using Feldman's pictures and some details of his life had appeared on dating apps while he was under house arrest. At least one showed Feldman listing himself as "widowed.")
Feldman's trial is expected to continue at least through April 22, according to court records. His lawyers have argued that Stacy Feldman died of natural causes, possibly due to a heart condition. She was, they said in court on Wednesday, "chronically sick," according to the Denver Post. They deny that Stacy confronted her husband about the newest affair while the children were receiving religious instruction, despite her texts to the woman who came forward after her death.