Whatever happened to just going through with the divorce?
A 68-year-old NY jeweler, who’s made iced-out pieces for the likes of Donald Trump and Yoko Ono, has been found guilty of tossing his wife in an oil drum and lighting her on fire. Where does a man that age get the strength for all that? And why not just leave her, instead of killing the mother of your teenage kids?
Werner Lippe of Cortlandt, New York, had confessed to the killing three times, but then recanted and testified to his innocence.
His defence stressed that no trace of his wife’s body was ever found, and an earlier jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Jurors at Lippe’s retrial spent eight hours deliberating over two days, and asked to hear each of Lippe’s recorded confessions.
On one recording – by a friend wearing a wiretap for the police – Lippe said of his wife: ‘She doesn’t exist anymore. They can’t find her.’
District Attorney Janet DiFiore said Lippe’s ‘horrifying acts of violence against his wife and the mother of his two children are unspeakable and he will now be held accountable.’
By killing his wife, the prosecutor said, Lippe stood to gain $1.5 million he would lose in the divorce.
‘He had the motive to kill her, he had the means, he had the opportunity and he had the know-how,’ said prosecutor James O’Rourke.
Lippe said in his confessions that he knocked out his wife with a board on October 3 2008, then burned her in a backyard ‘burn barrel’.
Police saw the barrel early in the investigation, but it disappeared before Lippe was arrested. No trace of his wife – bone fragments, blood or DNA – was found.
Lippe testified that he had confessed because he feared investigators were manufacturing evidence against him.
He also said he had become fearful that James Learnihan, the friend who wore the wire, would hurt him if he didn’t say what Mr Learnihan wanted to hear.
‘I wanted him off my back,’ Lippe said.
He claimed he had learned when his mother was cremated that it was impossible to destroy bones and teeth by burning, and he thought he would be exonerated when authorities realized his body-burning story couldn’t be true.
But prosecutors said Lippe could have disposed of his wife’s bones and teeth with the acids he kept in his workshop at his home.
Judge Barbara Zambelli set sentencing for March 29. Lippe could be sent to prison for 25 years to life and has already spent two years behind bars.
And now your kids are basically orphans. SMH.