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Grisly Cold-Case Killing Comes Back to Life

A jury convicts Howard Pilmar's wife and brother-in-law in horrific stabbing
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2019 1:55 PM CDT
Howard Pilmar.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Manhattan businessman Howard Pilmar was found stabbed to death in 1996, but the crime went unpunished—until now. On Friday, a New York jury found Pilmar's wife and brother-in-law guilty of luring him to his office to stab him dozens of times. "They planned it as a trap, and they set it up as a trap," says the lead prosecutor, per the New York Times. "And he didn't stand a chance." The case hinged on wife Roslyn Pilmar's need for the $1 million-plus in insurance money she received from Howard's death. She had been caught embezzling $160,000 from a dentist's office where she once worked, which she still owed, and had roughly $14,000 in unpaid taxes. Witnesses also said Roslyn, 61, had carped about her husband's verbal abuse.

That apparently motivated her brother, Evan Wald, 45, who once said he would kill Pilmar if he ever hurt Roslyn. Plus a drop of Wald's blood was at the scene, and police noticed a cut on his hand that he attributed to picking up a broken plate. "His hand was cut. So what?" his lawyer said in court. "That doesn’t mean he killed anyone with a knife." But it was enough for the jury, who took 3 1/2 days to convict them of killing the office supply entrepreneur and upscale coffee shop pioneer, per the New York Post. The verdict sent Howard and Roslyn's only child Philip storming out of the room—he'd always sided with his mother—and Howard's stepmom Carol into sobs. "I feel relieved," she said. "Finally justice." The perpetrators each face 25 years to life. Roslyn's lawyer says they plan to appeal. (Read more murder stories.)

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