Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New York City, NY: Man suspected of killing wife gives up control of $1.6M children's fund

A Manhattan stock trader suspected of killing his wife in 2009 has relinquished control over her $1.6 million life insurance policy that was left to their two young children now living with him in New Rochelle.

Rodrick Covlin, who has been accused of strangling his wife in a wrongful-death lawsuit but has not been criminally charged, resigned as the guardian of his children’s property, which included the life insurance policy of Shele Danishefsky Covlin.

The Public Administrator of Westchester County has been given temporary guardianship of the children’s property, according to a decision filed Monday in White Plains by Surrogate Judge Anthony Scarpino.

Covlin’s decision to release his children’s property effectively canceled Wednesday’s scheduled hearing in which Scarpino was going to consider revoking the father’s guardianship. The judge had suspended the guardianship in late December and ordered Covlin to account for how he has managed the money since getting control of it.

Covlin, who moved with his children to his parents’ New Rochelle home after his wife’s death, has declined to speak with the media. His attorney in the Surrogate’s Court case, Daniel Romano, would not comment Monday on his client’s decision.

Shele Covlin, a 47-year-old wealth adviser, was found dead in the bathroom of the couple’s Upper West Side apartment on New Year’s Eve 2009. Her death was ruled accidental, the result of a fall.

But investigators later learned that she had filed for divorce and sought an order of protection weeks earlier.

Her body was exhumed from Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Hawthorne, and in April 2010, the New York City medical examiner reclassified the case as a homicide by strangulation.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the case.

Shele Covlin’s brother and sister-in-law have filed for custody of the children in state Supreme Court. Her parents also sought visitation with Anna, now 11, and Myles, 5, and have not seen them since June 2010.

Covlin mentioned none of those court cases when he applied for guardianship over the children’s property, specifically an Aetna policy that would pay each child $812,500. Scarpino suspended the guardianship Dec. 29, saying that the other court cases were relevant and suggesting he had been misled.

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