A Manhattan juror suddenly fainted in his seat Wednesday as graphic autopsy photos of victim Shele Danishefsky were displayed on a large monitor at the murder trial of her estranged husband.
With accused killer Rod Covlin looking on, Senior Medical Examiner Jonathan Hayes was in the midst of testifying about the disturbing images when juror No. 8’s head suddenly flopped forward.
“He needs medical help!” screamed another panelist as Hayes quickly exited the stand to tend to the stricken juror.
All with an image of Danishefsky’s fractured hyoid bone, which anchors the tongue, projecting onto a screen.
Jurors were shown a gruesome crime scene photo of UBS banker Shele Danishefsky’s nude body on her bathroom floor, with her long blond hair soaked with blood Wednesday in Manhattan court.
Murderer Rodrick ‘Rod’ Covlin, 45, accused New York financier wife of sexually-abusing their son, two, before killing her to get her $5million fortune, court told […]
Danishefsky, 47, is positioned on her back with her left arm covering her left breast. Her eyes are closed, her mouth is slightly agape and there are bright red scratches on her face.
Another juror, who happened to be a nurse, also rushed to the man’s side.
The judge halted the proceeding, and the sickened juror was removed from the courtroom for treatment.
At the time of her death, Rod was 36 and Shele, a UBS executive from a wealthy background, was 47. She was the sole breadwinner and he was pursuing his backgammon passion
The jurist reassured the gallery that the man had regained his wits but dismissed him and swapped in an alternate.
As the juror left court he said that he had in part fainted in reaction to the gruesome photographs, which included an image of Danishefsky’s neck peeled back to expose underlying muscles.
Justice Ruth Pickholz denied defense lawyer Robert Gottlieb’s motion for a mistrial over the incident.
In earlier testimony, Hayes said he received Danishefsky’s body Jan. 1, 2010, a day after the banker was found face-down in the bathtub by her 9-year-old daughter in her Upper West Side home.
“When I opened up the [body] bag I immediately said, we need an autopsy,” Hayes told the jury. “I was struck by the injuries she had on her face. She had scratches on her face.”
Riveted jurors were shown autopsy photos of Danishefsky’s face marred by bright red scratches and cuts on her nose, lower eyelids, cheeks and lips.
There were also four dime-size bruises on the beautiful banker’s right wrist, and a larger bruise on the base of her index finger.
Backgammon buff Rod Covlin is accused of strangling his then 47-year-old wife Shele Danishefsky in her Upper West Side apartment back in 2009. The suspect was 36 at the time
Danishefsky’s Orthodox Jewish family initially declined an autopsy on religious grounds over Hayes’ protests.ing corpse: testimony.
“I was just about to make my first incision when I received a call from the administrator saying he had changed his mind,” Hayes said of the family’s reservations.
He urged then-Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch to overrule their objection in three separate phone calls.
“I said, ‘I’m worried she may have been killed,’” he recalled in Manhattan Supreme Court. “We went back and forth several times until he became angry and at that point I caved.”
Two months later, a judge ordered the exhumation of her body, and Hayes discovered that her neck, specifically her hyoid bone, had been snapped.
With Danishefsky’s death now officially ruled a homicide, the walls began to close around Covlin.
Rod Covlin [left], allegedly described in graphic detail finding his wife’s corpse with his [married] mistress Jeanne Robin [right], weeks after before the killing
Prosecutors have argued that Covlin, who was living across the hall from his estranged wife at the time of her death, used a lethal martial arts chokehold to break her neck.
He then staged the scene to look like a slip and fall. And despite Danishefsky’s injuries, police initially bought Covlin’s theory that his wife had fallen and hit her head.
The prosecution theory was buttressed by the emergence of a jailhouse video purportedly shoing the the stockbroker demonstrating a martial arts chokehold in jail, same technique prosecutors say he used to snap her neck, according to footage shown to jurors in Manhattan court Wednesday.
In the one-minute surveillance clip, Rod Covlin stands on one side of a round table across from another inmate in the law library of the Brooklyn Detention Complex.
Covlin, who has a black-belt in Taekwondo, bends forward and brings his left arm toward his chest.
He then turns and demonstrates the same move for the inmate with his right arm.
The Nov. 9, 2018, footage was introduced during testimony from Senior Medical Examiner Jonathan Hayes.
Assistant DA Matthew Bogdanos asked the forensic pathologist if the move could have been used on Shele Danishefsky.
“This folding of the arm and elbow is exactly how a chokehold is done,” he said.
The couple was in the midst of a frenzied divorce and custody battle over their two kids, and prosecutors say he ultimately ended her life to land Danishefsky’s $5.2 million fortune.