He answered no," said Folks, taking the stand for a second day. According to Folks, Neulander denied he was having an affair with Soncini but admitted he knew her. He claimed that he was paying the woman, a congregant of M'Kor Shalom Synagogue, to help him break into radio.
The business arrangement required that the two meet at her home at least once a week and talk often on the telephone, Neulander told police, according to Folks' testimony. After confronting Fred Neulander about Soncini, police asked him again about his relationship with his wife. Pressed, he told investigators that two days before the murder Carol Neulander complained that the couple was not spending time together and she asked her husband if he wanted to divorce. Neulander told investigators that he assured his wife he did not, Folks testified.
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The "bathroom guy" was one. Carol Neulander told her daughter, Rebecca Neulander-Rockoff, that a man who came to be called the "bathroom guy" by family members, visited the Neulander house about a week before the murder and said he was delivering a package for the rabbi.
But after using the family's bathroom, he only gave Carol Neulander an empty, white letter-sized enveloped and left. At the crime scene on the night of the murder, Fred Neulander denied knowing anything about the strange visitor, whom prosecutors allege was Jenoff, one of the hit men. On December 5 of that year, however, he told police that his wife discussed the "bathroom guy's" visit but did not seem concerned about it.
Neulander denied during that interview that he ever told his wife "not to be surprised" if he received a delivery at the house on the day of the murder, something police were told by Rebecca Neulander-Rockoff. On cross-examination, defense lawyer Michael Riley tried to highlight inadequacies in the police investigation. Among other things, police did not compare a hair found in Carol Neulander's hand to either of the killers.
On June 20, a grand jury indicted Fred Neulander on charges of capital murder, felony murder and conspiracy. Prosecutors vowed to seek the death penalty. A Camden County judge refused a defense request for a change of venue.
The trial, televised live on Court TV, began in August By now Fred Neulander was 60 years old. Witnesses said they saw him at the synagogue the night of the murder, but said it was very unusual for him to be there on a Tuesday night. Elaine Soncini left gave chilling testimony. She said Fred had told her he dreamed of his wife dying, and after the murder he said: "I told you to trust me. When God closes a door, he opens a window. Fred took the stand to proclaim his innocence. But under withering cross-examination, he admitted lying to police about his extramarital affairs.
He said he never planned to leave his wife for Soncini.
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But the prosecutor read a romantic poem he sent her and played a message from her answering machine in which he called Soncini "the most wonderful thing that came into my life. Despite the dramatic testimony, the jury was unable to reach a verdict. On November 13, , the judge declared a mistrial. Fred smiled. A month later, Elaine Soncini resigned from her radio job and retired to Florida.
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A second trial, a new verdict. Matthew Neulander left testified that he was stunned by his father's lack of emotion the night of the murder. His father didn't try to stop him from entering the house, but his fellow EMTs physically restrained him. They wanted to stop him from seeing the gruesome murder scene in the house where his bloodied mother lay dead. This time Fred did not testify. Eight years after Carol died, the jury found him guilty of murder, for which he could receive the death penalty.
By then Matthew was an emergency room doctor. He did not appear but submitted a written statement. A textbook sociopath. A man with no regard for others. However, I will take from him what would mean the world to a normal man, Madison and her siblings will never know him. I request that the Court permanently remove this vicious and evil person from their futures. Fred again proclaimed his innocence. Then, in a startling turn of events, in Leonard Jenoff recanted, saying he lied when he said Fred hired him to kill Carol.
In a February interview, Fred said he hopes a new trial will overturn his conviction. Prosecutors had no comment. At this writing, he remains in prison. Robi Ludwig, Timeline of Carol Neulander murder case, Courier-Post staff, Murder and revenge! Best Mystery On June 1, Jenoff pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter. On June 6, Daniels did the same.
Killer of Carol Neulander due for release Oct. 31
A sensational trial. This time Fred wasn't smiling. At the sentencing hearing, he addressed the jury. He claimed he loved his wife and missed her. Family members were outraged. Matthew called it "absolutely galling.
He should never live free again. Was the Rabbi guilty or innocent?
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