Denver DA’s office in June 2018, charged 54-year -old Robert Feldman with first-degree murder for the strangulation death of his wife Stacy on Mar 1, 2015
Suspect Robert Feldman, had been paid $751,910 as the sole beneficiary of his wife’s life insurance policy by the time charges were filed against him
Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that Feldman, 54, who ‘killed his wife’ can use up to $500,000 from her life insurance to pay for his defense
Court overturned ruling by lower court prohibiting the suspect using the money as defense fund, because of ‘slayer statute’
That is, if you’re responsible for a death, you have no claim over person’s estate
Robert Feldman’s lawyers argued he has the right to presumption of innocence, and the superior court agreed
Robert Feldman is charged with the first-degree murder in the death of his wife Stacy [photo], who was killed in 2015
A Denver man accused of killing his wife can use more than $500,000 received from her life insurance policy to pay for the lawyers defending him against the murder charge, Colorado’s highest court has ruled.
The opinion by the Colorado Supreme Court on Monday overturned a probate judge’s ruling that Robert Feldman, 55, who is charged with first-degree murder in the 2015 slaying of his wife, Stacy, was not entitled to the insurance proceeds because of the state’s ‘slayer statute.’
The Denver District Attorney’s office in June 2018 charged 54-year -old Robert Feldman with first-degree murder for the strangulation death of his wife Stacy.
Feldman claimed to have found his wife unresponsive in the couple’s shower on the afternoon of March 1, 2015. But a police surgeon who testified at a preliminary hearing against the victim’s husband, the death of Stacy Feldman was staged to look like an accidental death.
Dr. William Smock concluded that Stacy Feldman’s “injuries are the result of an assault, which included blunt force trauma, strangulation and suffocation.”
That law bars anyone from gaining any financial benefit from another’s estate if they are held criminally responsible for causing the death.
However, the higher court ruled that the statute does not to apply to a third party – in this case a legal defense team – that is paid for a ‘legally enforceable obligation.’
Criminal charges were not filed until nearly three years after the woman’s death, by which time Robert Feldman had been paid $751,910 as the sole beneficiary of his wife’s life insurance policy.
The slayer statue, Monday’s opinion said, ‘does not expressly address the question of freezing insurance proceeds until it can be determined…whether the person receiving the payment was entitled to receive it or not.’
Investigators were suspicious of Feldman early on but the medical examiner’s office initially said it was unable to determine the cause and manner of the 44-year-old woman’s death.
Court records indicate the lead detective suspected foul play from the beginning because Feldman appeared to be “overacting in an effort to avoid speaking with him” when the detective tried to question him about his wife’s death soon after responding to Feldman’s 911 call.
First responders said they found Feldman to be “over-dramatic” and “purposely not cooperative” to the point they had to request police assistance because he was yelling and wailing and getting so close to his wife that he was interfering with medic duties.
Feldman repeatedly told police his wife had ingested marijuana edibles the night before she died, but there was no trace in her body at the time of the autopsy, which Feldman said he didn’t want performed.
In addition, Feldman’s whereabouts on the day of Stacy Feldman’s death could not be easily explained.
Stacy Feldman was supposed to pick up the couple’s two children from Religious School at Temple Sinai in Denver at noon on Mar 1 2015, the day she was killed, but failed to turn up
Stacy Feldman was supposed to pick up the couple’s two children from Religious School at Temple Sinai at noon. When she failed to show up, a teacher called both Stacy Feldman and her husband.
Stacy didn’t respond, but Robert told his daughter he would be there shortly. When he didn’t show up by 12:45 pm, the teacher called him again and this time he said he thought a family friend would pick up his children.
When Robert Feldman finally showed up at 1:05 p.m., the teacher told police his behavior had been odd.
Nearly a month later, on March 24, 2015, detectives received an anonymous letter raising concerns about Stacy Feldman’s death, according to the affidavit. The letter stated that the dead woman had been texting a friend on the morning of her death about plans to pick up the children from school at noon.
On June 11, 2015, police tip line received a call from a woman who said she had met the suspect in February 2015 through the online dating site Tinder.
The pair met for coffee on Feb. 23, 2015, and he was reluctant to share his last name but eventually told her it was “Wolfe” not Feldman, while claiming he was divorced.
The caller said Feldman came to her house for dinner on Feb. 25 and they had sex that night.
After that encounter, she told police that Feldman blew her off so she researched him online and discovered he was likely married to Stacy Feldman.
The female tipster told police that she emailed Stacy Feldman on the morning of March 1, 2015, the date of Stacy Feldman’s death, and asked if she and Robert were divorced.
Stacy confirmed she was still married to the caller’s new love interest.
The woman then told the wife about the relationship with Robert Feldman.
According to the affidavit, Stacy Feldman responded that Robert had cheated on her in the past, but this time she was “done with him.”
In July 2015, detectives learned American General Life Insurance had paid a $750,000 claim to Robert Feldman for a life insurance policy on his wife that had been purchased in 2010.
Robert [right], dated and dumped a woman he met on Tinder, who then revealed the relationship to Stacy [left] on the day she was killed
The insurance company said it had no record of a policy on Robert Feldman.
A week later, on July 23, 2015, police reviewed the 911 call made by Robert Feldman.
Detectives say they could hear a toilet being flushed and statements that could be considered “guilty indicators” made by Robert Feldman.
Despite the 911 caller giving Robert Feldman instructions on how to perform CPR, detectives heard no changes in respiration or any other indicators that Feldman was performing CPR.
Investigators ultimately enlisted an outside physician specializing in domestic violence strangulation cases to review the autopsy results.
The expert concluded that the victim died from a violent assault and strangulation, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Feldman, arrested in 2018, gave his attorneys $555,000 from the insurance payout, which was deposited into the law firm’s account.
The legal guardian of the couple’s two minor children successfully argued to the probate court that Feldman was not entitled to the proceeds after he was charged with his wife’s murder. The law firm appealed against the ruling, setting the stage for the higher court’s decision.
Legal analyst Craig Silverman, a former Denver prosecutor not involved in the case, said the children lost out in the balancing test applied by the court.
‘When there is tension between civil rights and the criminal rights of an accused, the courts often emphasize the need for a fair trial and the panoply of rights afforded a criminal defendant,’ Silverman said. That included a presumption of innocence, he added.