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Crime News Family Crimes

Man Sentenced For Smothering, Dismembering Wife To Be With Mistress Who Backed His Comic Book Store Dreams

Prosecutors say Stephen Capaldi murdered his wife Elizabeth Capaldi last October to make way for his mistress, who supported his dream of opening a comic book store while his wife did not. He was sentenced to 22 to 44 years in prison.

By Christina Coulter
Husbands Who Killed Their Wives

A cheating Pennsylvania man was sentenced Tuesday to 22 to 44 years in state prison for dismembering his wife after smothering her to death.

Stephen Capaldi, 57, had pleaded guilty to third-degree murder for killing 55-year-old Elizabeth "Beth" Capaldi, the Bucks County District Attorney's Office wrote in a press release.

He admitted to smothering his wife to death on the morning Oct. 10, 2022, using a pillow while she slept, strangling her, then cutting up her remains in their basement to dispose of two days later. 

RELATED: Man Who Searched 'How To Get Away With Murder' Admits To Killing Wife, Prosecutors Say

To avoid a first-degree murder charge, Capaldi led police to his wife's makeshift grave on Hog Island in Tinicum Township, near Philadelphia National Airport. 

Capaldi also pleaded guilty to charges for possessing an instrument of a crime, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing the administration of law and abuse of a corpse.  

On Tuesday, he apologized to family and friends in the courtroom. “I know I’m guilty,” Capaldi said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “but I don’t know why I did what I did.”

Police handouts of Beth and Stephen Capaldi

According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime, Capaldi initially told police "numerous lies" about what happened, claiming that she may have left "on her own accord," despite the fact that her vehicle and cell phone were left behind at their home, and was "probably [on] a beach somewhere warm."

He told officers with Sellersville's Pekasie Borough Police Department that he and his wife had watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" the night before she disappeared. She was probably trying to "prove a point," Capaldi said, because she was "unhappy in their marriage" and was having an affair. 

In reality, Capaldi was unhappy. A search of his phone confirmed that he carried on an "emotional and sexual affair" with another woman for six months. That mistress, according to a grand jury report, "supported [Capaldi's] dream of opening a comic book store with his brother while his wife did not."

Other contents of the phone were even more damning. Among his internet searches were, "How to get away with murder"; "Can you avoid police detection by turning off your phone"; "How to delete Facebook messages"; and "How to disappear and never be found." He had also viewed the FBI Handbook of Crime Scene Forensics," according to the affidavit, and searched for "reciprocating saw" and "DIY blacklight."

In addition to jail time, Common Pleas Judge Charissa J. Liller also ordered Capaldi on Tuesday to pay $8,308.50 in restitution to his daughter for her mother's funeral, and not to contact her unless she initiated.

"My mother is dead, and my father killed her," the daughter, Emma, said in her victim impact statement. "I have the love of friends, family, even strangers, but my own father took the person who loved me most."

Emma first reported her mother missing on Oct. 12. When the woman told her father she planned to call police, Capaldi reportedly told her to "do what you think you have to do."

Now, Emma said in her statement, her father should "never be free from prison to finally leave [her] mother's memory in peace."

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