'I Still Love Her,' Man Admits After Wife Kills Herself And His Lover In Act Of Revenge
Jennair Gerardot texted Mark Gerardot, "I hope you never find happiness," before shooting herself and his mistress.
On April 23, 2018, Jennair Gerardot broke into the home of her husband’s lover and shot her to death before turning the gun on herself.
Now, more than a year after the deadly encounter that left both women dead, her husband, Mark Gerardot, has expressed remorse for the role he played in the tragedy.
"I broke her heart and more than anything, [out] of all of this, my regret comes back to breaking her heart and making her feel like she had no other choice," he told “20/20” of his wife’s actions, according to ABC News.
Mark now says he wishes he would have made different decisions after cheating on his wife with Meredith Chapman, a young coworker at the University of Delaware.
“I wish I wouldn't have hurt her because I loved her. I still love her. I wish I could take it back," he said in the episode, slated to air on Friday.
The deadly end to the love triangle came months after Jennair had discovered the affair, prompting her to go to extreme measures to track her husband’s activities, including sewing recording devices into his clothing, placing GPS devices on his and Chapman’s cars, and purchasing computer hacking software.
"I think there were over 400 images of private conversations that Meredith and I had via text and via Snapchat, and she would actually, in the middle of the night, get access to my phone," Mark said, guessing she would use his thumbprint while he was sleeping.
After he confessed to the affair, the couple began to attend counseling. But after their second session, when Mark was putting on his jacket, he discovered a recording device sewed inside.
“She told me she wanted to understand the degree to which Meredith and I were in the relationship," he told “20/20”. "She was determined there was a plan between Meredith and I, and she was trying to listen to what that plan was."
The relationship between the pair continued to devolve and Mark told his wife he wanted a divorce.
Divorce coach Sheila Brennan told “20/20” Jennair had been upset she was “being tossed away” and “traded in” for a younger woman in the months leading up to the shooting.
In a promo promoting Friday’s show, Jennair can be heard in an audio clip confronting her husband.
“You don’t find me attractive,” she said. “You don’t want me anymore. You don’t even like me.”
Then she describes his relationship with Chapman as “fresh.”
“She lights your fire, she makes you feel young,” she said.
Chapman’s own marriage to Newark City Councilman Luke Chapman had also already crumpled, according to the Delaware News Journal.
Then shortly before 7 p.m. on April 23, 2018 police said Jennair broke into Chapman’s home and was “lying in wait” for her husband’s lover to come home.
“This was a calculated and planned attack,” Bill Colarulo, superintendent of Radnor Township police, told the local paper. “She broke into the house. She was lying in wait, and she shot her as soon as she walked in, and then shot herself.”
After the shooting Chapman’s family called her a “beacon of light,” in a statement released to the media, according to Philadelphia station WCAU.
"She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field," they said. "Her death was sudden and tragic, but will not definite who she was to the thousands of people who loved her."
Mark told “20/20” he had been planning to meet his wife for dinner that night to discuss the pending divorce, but while he was at the restaurant, he received a text message saying that she wasn’t going to be able to make it.
Then, Jennair reportedly sent him another message, this time a picture of trash with a condom in the middle, that Mark believed was taken outside Chapman’s home.
“You ruined my life,” she said before sending two final chilling messages: “I hope you find never happiness," and “Bye, Mark.”
Mark rushed to Chapman’s home, but by the time he arrived both women were lying dead on the floor.
"It took five seconds and I screamed an obscenity and ran to her," he said of his wife. "I just said, ‘Baby. Oh, baby. What have you done?'"
It was a tragic end to a relationship that began when Jennair and Mark were both teenagers working at a Taco Bell in the summer of 1986, though their relationship wouldn’t take a romantic turn until the couple ran into each other again four years later.
The pair married on Oct. 23, 1993 and began a life together.
“We were happy,” Mark said. “I couldn’t imagine not being with her for the rest of my life.”
But over the course of their marriage, financial hardships and heated arguments would take a toll on the bond they had once shared.
When Mark took a new job at the University of Delaware as a marketing director — where he worked under Chapman— Jennair initially stayed behind in South Carolina to try to rent their home.
Mark said after making the move he immediately felt a connection to Chapman, saying it felt “amazing” to be around her. Within a month of meeting, the pair had kissed. Although Mark initially tried to stop the relationship, he told “20/20” that he was unable to pull himself away from the 33-year-old.
“I felt enthralled. It was such a connection. To shut it down just didn’t feel right,” he said. “I had to at least find out what it was that…drew us together.”
Now, he hopes his story can serve as a cautionary tale to others.
“There [are] a lot of married people out there...going through a lot of the same things Jennair and I were going through,” he said.